A Chester high school has now installed CCTV cameras within student toilets following a consultation.
Upton High School has reassured pupils and parents that all cameras are directed away from urinals and are unable to see inside cubicles.
There are firm safeguards in place to protect privacy and dignity.
The school consulted students and parents before going ahead with the camera plan which the school says is to make pupils feel safe but is not the result of any one incident.
Deputy headteacher Jon Arnull told The Chronicle: “There has not been one specific incident actually; this suggestion is simply to improve students’ well-being – to make them feel as safe as they can.
“Unfortunately we cannot afford to install modern, airy, open-plan toilets that are found in newer schools (no urinals, cubicles only and large communal wash basin areas etc). Our toilets are enclosed. Cameras are becoming more affordable so we are able to upgrade them.”
Discussing feedback from pupils during the consultation, Mr Arnull continued: “We have not had any complaints or concerns and the vast majority seem to welcome it, as was indicated when we raised the issue before installation. We will continue to seek their feedback in school council meetings etc.”
He added: “The parents have responded similarly. Of 1,182 families in school, only 21 objected –all on the grounds of invasion of privacy and general concerns about the growth of CCTV in society.”
The idea of putting cameras into the toilets followed an upgrade of the school’s entire CCTV system.
Upton High says the toilet cameras are not monitored continuously unless there is a suspicion a wrong doing is about to take place. To view live pictures, a senior member of staff must inform a colleague this is about to happen. For events that have already taken place, footage is retrieved in the usual way to ensure any investigation is effective.