Using CCTV in your school
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CCTV in school is now seen as an indispensible part of managing the school and the wider site. However, if you are planning to install CCTV cameras in your school, there are things you need to consider to make sure the system is appropriate and justified.
CCTV for security and protection of property
Locating CCTV cameras in school grounds is normally justified if it ensures the safety of pupils and others and protects school property. However, you should first consider alternative solutions, such as improved lighting, landscaping or fencing.
Also, to ensure your system is compliant, you must display signage prominently and close to the cameras. This should:
• Inform members of the public that their images are being recorded and the reasons for doing so
• Give the name of the school and CCTV installer
• Provide a contact number for further information (such as a phone number)
CCTV for monitoring movement and behaviour of pupils and staff
You may only use CCTV for monitoring the movement and behaviour of pupils and staff in justifiable circumstances. Only in exceptional circumstances should a camera be placed where privacy is expected, for example a toilet or changing room. However, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) considers this highly intrusive and unlikely to be justified.
Before installing CCTV for these purposes, your school must:
• Carefully assess all alternative solutions. If the purpose is for managing pupil behaviour, for example preventing bullying, you should first contact local public or voluntary sector services for advice
• Carry out a privacy impact assessment to assess how this will affect the right to privacy of pupils and staff. For further information on privacy impact assessments, visit the ICO website
• Consult pupils and parents and where possible get their consent to install cameras
CCTV in classrooms
Your school may wish to use CCTV or other surveillance technologies for:
• Performance management or reflective practice of staff
• Managing pupils’ behaviour in classrooms
• In both cases, you should first consider alternative solutions. You may install the technology only with the agreement of pupils, parents and staff, and if no other solutions are possible
Informed consent, particularly with regard to performance management or reflective practice of staff is essential.
CCTV in toilets and changing rooms
CCTV and other surveillance technologies should not be used in areas where individuals have a heightened expectation of privacy. The view of the ICO is that cameras may be used in toilets, changing rooms and similar areas only in exceptional circumstances. It is unlikely that your school would be able to demonstrate circumstances that warrant the use of CCTV in these situations. For more information, visit the ICO website.
If you would like further advice or guidance on installing CCTV systems in your school, then get in touch.