CCTV cameras in school toilets

CAMERAS are being used to monitor the activity of pupils in toilet areas in schools, a new report has revealed.

Hastings Academy and William Parker Sports College train CCTV cameras on the wash basin areas in their toilet facilities.

The cameras were identified under a Big Brother Watch report called the Class of 1984.

The group issued a Freedom of Information request to around 4,000 schools across the country. They asked about the number of cameras they had in the school and where they were installed .

The Radclyffe School in Oldham, Lancashire has the highest number of cameras in bathrooms or changing facilities with 20 in total.

Hastings Academy has four cameras in total, two positioned in each of the boys and girls toilets.

They were installed in the 1990s to tackle issues of bullying and smoking in the toilets.

They also helped staff monitor areas of the toilets that were not easy to view by sight.

Vice-principal Philippa Gasson said: “Our cameras monitor the wash basin areas only.

“They do not directly monitor the toilet cubicle or changing room areas. They are coming to the end of their lifespan as we prepare to move to our new building.

“We introduced them to tackle a problem of bullying and smoking in the toilets in the 1990s.

“But that is much less of a problem now. The building was created in the 1950s with a lot of nooks and crannies where teachers could not see. The cameras help us to do this.”

William Parker Sports College, in Parkstone Road, has one camera located in one of its toilet rooms.

David Evans, assistant headteacher, said: “We have one camera looking at the basin in a boys washroom.

“It was installed during the refurbishment of 2003. Some pupils were abusing the new hand driers and splashing water and soap on each other.

“The cameras are trained on the basins not the individual toilets.

“Parents and governors are fully aware of it. Pupils know they are being watched because there are CCTV signs everywhere. We do not have the same problems and we have had no complaints from the student council.”

Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said: “The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock for many parents.”