School puts CCTV in toilets to stop pupils being late to class

A school has fitted cameras in the "communal areas" of its toilets after some pupils reportedly requested the CCTV so that groups of students would be discouraged from "hanging round" the sinks when they should be in lessons. Archbishop McGrath Catholic High, a mixed secondary school in Bridgend, insists the cameras do not give a view into cubicles or to urinals.

One mum said she was concerned when her child came home from the school in Oak Tree Way, Brackla, and told her cameras had been installed in the facilities for boys and those for girls. The mum added: "I am very concerned about this and how it impacts all students at the school. I think it is a total invasion of privacy, especially for children. There was no notification of parents before they were installed."

When we approached the school for comment Bridgend council informed us the CCTV had been brought in on the request of Archbishop McGrath pupils who are members of a "learner voice forum" where they suggest improvements to the school. According to the council these pupils had been concerned about other students being late to lessons due to "hanging round" the sinks and hand-driers.

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A spokesman for the school said: “As a relatively newly-built school we benefit from excellent facilities including a number of open-plan pupil toilet areas. But, as is the case in many schools, there are occasions when a small number of students gather in the communal sink and hand-drier areas resulting in lateness to lessons. In response to feedback from our various learner voice forums we are in the process of carrying out further improvements to our facilities to ensure that this small number of students are not late to lessons going forward.”

Responding to the mum's fears that privacy would be breached a council spokesman said: “All data protection regulations have been followed by the school and it’s worth reiterating that none of the cameras are positioned to monitor toilets of any kind and that they have ultimately been installed to further enhance the safeguarding of learners.” And the school spokesman added: "Our governors approved the upgrading of our systems to specifically focus on communal public sink and hand-drier areas."

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