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In march, this year Sam Goodman, 18, walked out of his politics lesson to protest against fout CCTV cameras that had been installed overnight in the classroom. He was joined by all but one of his classmates. Goodman says his school, an Essex comprehensive told the class that the camera has not been switched on yet, and that when they were, they'd be used for teacher training purposes only. A few weeks later, Goodman says students discovered that the recording system was ina cupboaard in the classroom and that the microphones were in fact on. Goodman and his friends promptly switched them off.
Hundreds of primary and secondary schools across the country intend to install CCTV cameras in classrooms over the next five years to root out bad teachers and check up on naughty pupils, Education Guardian has learned.
The revelation comes after a comprehensive in a deprived south London neighbourhood, Stockwell Park high school, said late last month that it had installed 100 cameras – two in each of its classrooms and 40 in its canteen, corridors and playgrounds.
The company behind Stockwell Park's surveillance network is Hertfordshire-based Classwatch, of which the shadow children's minister, Tim Loughton, is chair. Classwatch says hundreds of schools have expressed an interest in installing cameras in classrooms over the next five years. They include grammar schools. A high-performing grammar in Kent has recently placed an order.
Classwatch's managing director, Angus Drever, says 94 schools in the UK already use its high-definition cameras in their classrooms at a cost of £1,345 a year for the lease of two cameras in a classroom, including maintenance.
Footage captured on the cameras is password-protected, can be stored for a month, and is usually the responsibility of a school's governors.
Drever says the cameras can be used by teachers to show "good practice" to colleagues and give feedback. "All that can make a step-change in the educational standards of a school," he says.
Classwatch's website claims the cameras can also help to produce "dramatic improvements in behaviour", improve concentration and productivity, and protect staff, pupils and a school's assets against vandals and thieves.
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