Bodycams in schools: Big Brother or protection for staff? (+poll) (updated)

22 Mar

8 February 2017

Teachers in two UK schools are trialling using body cameras in class as part of a pilot scheme, according to reports in  The Guardian, TES, Telegraph, ITV, BBC and other media.

A TES (Times Educational Supplement) survey of over 600 teachers found that 37.7 per cent of teachers would wear a body camera (bodycam) in school.

  • Of these, one third (35.1 per cent) would do so to monitor and gain evidence of student behaviour; one in five (19.5 per cent) would do so to improve their teaching.
  • Two thirds (66.4 per cent) of teachers surveyed would feel safer in the classroom knowing there was a camera recording everything.
  • A Cambridge University study of bodycams worn by the police found that the practice improves behaviour of both the police and members of the public.
  • According to other surveys cited by TES, four out of ten teachers and over half of teaching assistants experienced violence from pupils in recent years.
  • An academic researcher from Portsmouth University suggests teachers might begin to feel at ease with bodycams once a broader range of uses is developed.

Others, however, have criticised the idea, commenting that if schools have good behaviour policies, they shouldn’t have to resort to using body cameras or CCTV, and raising issues of professional privacy, safeguarding pupils, and the safety and security of staff. Voice has also raised concerns about CCTV in the classroom.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said the trial was “a matter for the school”. She added: “The schools are acting within the law as far as we know but we haven’t investigated this matter.”

TES news item on body cameras, 7 February 2017

A feature on body cameras will be published in TES magazine on Friday, 10 February 2017

TES editorial in favour (10 February 2017)

TES opinion article against (10 February 2017)

Tag: Behaviour

What do you think?

Please let us have your comments below and take part in our poll.

Would you be prepared to wear a body camera in school? 

Results (Poll closed 25 September 2017):

Would you be prepared to wear a body camera in school?

  • No (54%, 19 Votes)
  • Yes (46%, 16 Votes)










Further information

Full TES survey of over 600 teachers undertaken in January 2017 :

1. Would you be prepared to wear a bodycam in school?

Yes – 37.7%

No – 62.3%

2. If not, what is the major factor in that decision? 

Your own privacy – 21%

Feeling of being spied upon by management – 19,3%

Privacy of the children – 19.2%

Potential for misuse by management – 18.3%

Fundamental issues with surveillance in general – 17.9%

Lack of confidence in the technology – 2.4%

Other – 1.9%

3. If you answered no, are there any circumstances in which you think a bodycam would be appropriate?

Where teachers ask for the technology due to safety concerns – 27.1%

Where teachers ask for the technology to improve their own teaching – 26%

Where teachers ask for the technology to evidence behaviour – 22.1%

In particularly challenging schools or specialist provision – 18.6%

Where headteachers wish to use it instead of lesson observation – 3%

Other – 3.2%

4. If you answered yes, what would be your primary reason for wearing a bodycam? 

Monitoring and evidencing student behaviour – 35.1% #

CPD (improving your teaching) – 19.5%

Safety of the teacher – 18.5%  Safety of students – 13.1%

Evidencing learning for students and/or parents 12%

Other – 1.8%

5. Regardless as to whether you answered yes or no to question one, would you feel safer in the classroom knowing there was a camera recording everything?

Yes – 66.4%

No – 33.6%

6. Do you think there will ever be a time when bodycams will be made mandatory in UK schools?

Yes – 10.9%

No – 89.1% 

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3 Responses to “Bodycams in schools: Big Brother or protection for staff? (+poll) (updated)”

  1. Richard Fraser 08. Feb, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    Comment on Twitter:

    Mike harber ‏@mikeyharber “@Voicetheunion @VoiceGenSec I don’t see an issue with it, if people are behaving bodycams and cctv have no impact on them”

  2. Richard Fraser 22. Mar, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    “Teacher body cams ‘cannot be dismissed'” (BBC News):

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