British teachers may soon have to wear body cameras

The public 'would support' body cams on teachers working in problem schools - while an equally big ratio think that there are justifications for putting CCTVs inside our classrooms.

Ignoring for a second the fact that the 'data' comes from a poll commissioned by a CCTV system supplier, the fact that such Surveillance State ideas are being so openly discussed does seem genuinely shocking.

Thus a growing percentage of parents who would like to be able to remotely monitor their children at school, according to the firm behind the study, CCTV.co.uk.

A small majority would support body cams for teachers as, it alleges, "privacy and human rights conflict with concerns over staff and pupil safety" in the "debate" over threatening behaviour in the classroom.

Specifically, from talking to 2,733 members of the public:

  • 56 per cent said they supported the principle of CCTV cameras in school classrooms - rising to 68% if the school had a record of poor behaviour
  • 52 per cent said teachers should be given the option of body cams if they feared for their safety
  • 18 per cent who identified themselves as parents said they would like to be able to use a system to keep an eye on their children
  • Only 11 per cent thought they should be made mandatory.

"There's a groundswell of opinion that thinks that the time has come to give local authorities and teachers the option," says CCTV.co.uk's Jonathan Ratcliffe.

Read more: UK school kids in line for advanced cyber security training

While CCTV is commonplace in many schools around reception areas and places where the public can enter, they've not yet crossed the threshold into the classroom, with negative reactions to recent ideas about head teachers wanting cameras installed in school toilets, explains the firm - and is stands, where cameras are installed, they tend not to be for monitoring puplis but for evidence-gathering if there's an incident. Very few schools with CCTV systems use their cameras to keep a constant vigil over the premises, CCTV.co.uk confirms.

But it says growing concerns over teacher safety could also be a valid reason for cameras.

It also points out that no matter how "closed" the system, any streaming service would be open to misuse, not just from hackers, but from misuse of the password and login system.

"It would be a nightmare for education officials," says Ratcliffe, "Without very strong security, who knows who could be watching your kid when they're getting changed for a PE class."

However, it's an idea whose time is almost certainly here, CCTV.co.uk says: "School security is a real issue," says Ratcliffe, "let's use the technology we've got to keep our kids and their teachers safe."

@24n.biz