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CCTV cameras in school 'for safety of pupils'

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: October 15, 2012

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Cameras are installed in bathrooms and changing rooms of a school near Yeovil for the safety of students, it has been claimed.

Staff at Stanchester Academy, in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, defended the use of CCTV cameras around the school and claimed they were not located in “sensitive” areas.

A report by pressure group Big Brother Watch, which claims to campaign on civil liberties and privacy issues, identified Stanchester Academy as one of five schools in Somerset to have cameras installed in its toilet and changing areas.

The report said the school has four CCTV cameras in its bathrooms and changing rooms. The highest number of cameras in these locations at a school in England is 20, according to the study.

Iain Slade, deputy headteacher of Stanchester Academy, said: “I can confirm we were approached for information regarding the use of CCTV in school last academic year.

“We have a very small number of cameras placed around the academy site, as do many thousands of other schools across the country, for the sole purpose of protecting students.

“They are not directed at, or sited, in sensitive or ‘delicate’ areas – and they are visible to all. We strongly feel, as is backed by numerous positive parental comments, that these cameras assist us in keeping young people safe.”

According to the report, there are 21 schools in the South West with cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms.

Big Brother Watch compiled its findings from responses to freedom of information requests sent to 4,092 secondary schools and academies earlier this year.

The pressure group said it wants the Government to commission an independent review of CCTV use in schools.

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