Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cameras in Classrooms

The following letter and response were first published in The Teacher magazine January/February 2016.

There is a proposal at my school to introduce cameras into classrooms. We have been told that the system will be a useful tool for teacher collaboration, allowing teachers to reflect on, analyse and share good practice, but staff are concerned. What is the NUT view?

You are right to be concerned. Teachers may be accustomed to CCTV in schools for security reasons, but its installation in classrooms is seen by many teachers as a step too far. The NUT’s position on this is clear – monitoring teachers by means of CCTV for the purposes outlined above and in the absence of ‘explicit’ consent amounts to a breach of Data Protection Principles and should be resisted.

We would suggest that, once you know the full details of what is proposed – including how the system would work and whether or not it is voluntary – you get together with your NUT colleagues to discuss how it would affect you and the way you work. If it seems likely that the system could be used to make judgments about teachers’ performance outside the appraisal process, and is not genuinely voluntary, you and your colleagues might want to raise concerns with management. If your concerns are not heeded, the NUT’s programme of Action Short of Strike Action allows members to refuse to co-operate with initiatives which are educationally unsound and/or unnecessarily increase the burdens on teachers.

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