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Fury over CCTV plan for grammar schools

PUBLISHED: 17:33 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 23 August 2010

FURY: Spy-cams in class

FURY: Spy-cams in class

AN education chief has branded a decision to install CCTV cameras in classrooms at a boys grammar school as absolutely appalling and totally unacceptable. Bosses at Gravesend Grammar School, Church Walk, Gravesend, are set to install the equipment in

AN education chief has branded a decision to install CCTV cameras in classrooms at a boys grammar school as "absolutely appalling" and "totally unacceptable."

Bosses at Gravesend Grammar School, Church Walk, Gravesend, are set to install the equipment in two if its classrooms.

Suppliers Classwatch say the cameras can assist teaching and the professional development of teachers.

But Brian Chadwick, the secretary of Gravesham Teachers' Association, said he thought the cameras will affect a teacher's relationship with the class and said parents could also be concerned.

He said: "The whole principle of putting CCTV cameras in classrooms is absolutely appalling. For teachers performance to be monitored in that way is in my view, as I am sure would be shared by many colleagues, totally unacceptable.

"There are procedures in place for dealing with teachers performance levels and training, for example during the course of the year he or she may be monitored or observed by a line manager and that is sufficient. Sometimes there is a danger that even that is over done.

"The whole thing is bizarre. Not only will it invade the privacy of the children, which I am sure will upset some parents groups, but the teachers will no doubt be conscious of it and their relationship with the class is almost certainly bound to be affected."

Classwatch has set up cameras in 94 schools across the country, which cost £1,300 a year to rent.

Angus Drever, managing director of Classwatch said: "I am surprised at this negative reaction towards anything that might help improve teachers performance.

"Schools use it because they believe they get a very good return on their investment, it helps them improve the standard of teaching in a very non intrusive fashion.

"With our systems, observation can take place outside the classroom. It's a very powerful way for helping to raise educational standards. The real acid test is that headteachers who use our equipment are very supportive of it and they do feel that it does provide some very good benefits to their schools.

"They can use it to improve teaching techniques, as a way of passing on best practice of controlling a badly behaved class, as a method of feedback to parents and to help improve their own personal development."

Mr Chadwick, who said he would be contacting the school in the new term about its decision, added: "What does it do for the morals in the school? I hope the reaction is such that the headteacher changes his mind."

A KCC spokesperson said: "For safety and security many schools have CCTV cameras covering their grounds.

"Decisions to put cameras in other parts of the school would need to be made by the headteacher and the governing body, mindful of their purpose of the need to inform students, staff and visitors that these cameras exist."

Gravesend Grammar School was unavailable for comment.

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