Education & Family

Teachers warn of 'permanent surveillance' from CCTV

CCTV camera Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Teachers are to criticise "excessive monitoring" using CCTV cameras in class

Teachers are warning that CCTV safety cameras are being misused by senior staff as a way of spying on lessons.

The NASUWT teachers' union conference will hear the claims in a debate over "excessive monitoring" in schools.

A survey of 7,500 union members found that about than one in 12 staff were working with this "permanent surveillance" in their classrooms.

"Lab rats have more professional privacy," said the union's general secretary, Chris Keates.

Teachers at the union's conference in Birmingham will hear that this constant observation is an unfair pressure on teachers and stifles their creativity.

They will say that it undermines their professionalism.

Under surveillance

The survey of NASUWT teachers found that almost one in 10 of teachers with classroom cameras could not turn them off and that they assumed they were constantly recording.

More than half believed that head teachers looked at recordings.

The survey included anonymous comments from teachers.

One teacher claimed she had been emailed by the deputy head during a lesson asking her to tell the class that their behaviour was being watched on camera.

Another said that they had seen senior staff watching footage of another colleague and "trying to catch him out".

There were also questions about control over the recordings, with claims that senior staff were able to erase any negative evidence about themselves.

"This is yet another example of how teachers are being undermined and stripped of their professionalism," says Ms Keates.

"Teachers are already wrestling with excessive monitoring, masquerading as classroom observation, carried out by senior management and a host of other people regularly visiting their classrooms.

"Now, in some schools, they are being subjected to permanent surveillance through CCTV cameras.

"No other professionals are subjected to such appalling treatment. No one should be subjected to the stress and pressure of being watched constantly."

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