Revealed: the Havering schools with CCTV in pupils’ toilets

Two schools in Havering have installed CCTV cameras in pupils’ toilets, a controversial new report has revealed.

Figures were gathered by anti-surveillance campaigners Big Brother Watch, which raised serious concerns about schoolchildren’s privacy and about what happens to the footage.

The group found more than 200 schools and colleges had taken the controversial monitoring steps in either toilets or changing rooms, or both.

They include St Edward’s Church of England School and Sixth Form College, in London Road, Romford, with seven cameras; and Britton’s Academy, in Ford Lane, Rainham, with one.

Rev Alan Perry, headteacher at St Edward’s, said the cameras were installed above hand basins in toilets to tackle bullying and vandalism - and had been done so with “full consultation” with parents and students.

He added: “Toilets have historically been one of the unsafe places in schools as well as a place where vandalism has occurred. By installing CCTV over the hand basins it has stopped potential bullying as well as bringing an end to any vandalism.

“The cameras are not sited anywhere near the cubicles. There are no CCTV cameras in changing rooms at St Edward’s.”

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The schools are two of just 26 schools in London to install cameras in what is traditionally considered private locations.

Brittons Academy have yet to respond.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock to many parents. Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage. Local authorities also need to be doing far more to reign in excessive surveillance in their areas and ensuring resources are not being diverted from more effective alternatives.”

A total of 825 cameras are located in the toilets or changing rooms across England, Scotland and Wales, according to figures provided from Freedom of Information rights by more than 2,000 schools.