Tuesday, 15 February 2011
CCTV in schools
Does CCTV in schools work? - if it was plugged in, it might (Photo taken during a recent school visit)
CCTV in schools has been topic of hot media debate recently, especially with the news story that one school in Coventry had 112 CCTV cameras.
It is an issue that attracts strong views on each side - student safety and security is absolutely paramount. Equally, if we want great learning environments, they have to be protected from abuse by those not connected with the school.
As a Headteacher taking over a seriously failing school with a major damage and behaviour issues, installing some CCTV cameras in circulation spaces, although not 112, was part of a whole range of strategies undertaken. Creating a unified approach to transforming the ethos of the school was the key most important factor however.
The cameras we installed were small and discreet, not the clunking great things that some schools seem to use inside.I'm not sure why they would do that really! Most people forgot all about them after a while.
Did they work? there is no one approach that works - it is the combination of factors that support each other. In this case, after a few months, the result was we basically that we didn't need them. Damage was just about stopped and behaviour really improved. Crucially, students felt safe and staff enjoyed a co-ordinated approach to working together. CCTV helped solve some major issues for us when we first needed it - It was nothing to do with spying on people or not trusting them!
So did they work - for us yes! Would I use them again as one part of a whole host of strategies
(They also had their uses for tracking Inspectors during Ofsted / HMI visits etc - but I didn't say that!)