Classroom CCTV riles teaching unions

Unions have attacked the introduction of Big Brother-style cameras and microphones in school classrooms.

Salford City Council in Manchester has introduced the 360-degree CCTV cameras in four schools as a way of giving teachers feedback on lessons.

As part of a voluntary programme, senior staff can instruct teachers through concealed headphones for up to three hours per year under national performance management regulations. The best lessons would be put onto DVDs and used as a training tool for other staff, the council said.

Councillor John Warmisham, Salford City Council’s lead member for children’s services, said no teachers would be forced to take part in the training activities.

But Chris Keates, general secretary of teachers’ union NASUWT, said he was against the “exorbitant” cost and invasive nature of the programme.

“We do not support the use of cameras in this way and see no professional security or educational benefits to such systems,” he said.

Mary Bousted, head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, also had reservations about the use of the technology.

She told the Telegraph: “It does seem a bit Big Brother–ish…Although schools say the process is voluntary, it would be quite difficult to stand up and say no if other people agree to it,” she said.

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