Ipswich: School defends use of CCTV surveillance in area surrounding toilets

A SCHOOL in Ipswich is one of more than 200 across England, Scotland and Wales to have CCTV cameras in toilets and changing rooms, it has been revealed.

Westbourne Sports College was revealed to be on the list of 207 schools and academies with the CCTV cameras, although they have no cameras in changing areas, following a Freedom of Information request to 2,107 schools by the Big Brother Watch campaign group.

According to the FoI, 825 cameras were located in the toilets or changing rooms of 207 schools across England, Scotland and Wales.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “This research raises serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren across Britain, with some schools having one camera for every five pupils and hundreds of schools using cameras in toilets and changing rooms.

“The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock to many parents.”

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Headteacher of the Marlow Road school, Chris Edwards, defended the school’s CCTV cameras, explaining that they helped to keep students safe.

He said: “We have one camera that you could constitute as being in a toilet area, it’s in a corridor overlooking an open-plan toilet area where the hand wash facilities are open to the corridors.

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“We have one camera covering the wash basin area and it proved very useful three years ago when an act of violence was perpetrated by three students against another student.

“We have no cameras in changing rooms at all.”

Westbourne has a total of 52 camera inside and outside the school.

Mr Edwards said: “In my opinion, CCTV cameras can serve a very useful purpose in schools, in that they give students a sense of security.”

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