Do Schools Have CCTV?

Written by regionadmin

2nd June 2022

Are CCTV cameras allowed in schools? This is a question that many people are unsure of, and the answer is yes, schools do have CCTV cameras. UK schools have a big responsibility of keeping all their students and staff safe during school hours and one way of doing this is by installing CCTV around the premises to record any crimes that may occur.

However, the idea of installing CCTV cameras in UK schools is a controversial subject and we will be discussing the reasons why throughout this article.

Is It Legal to Have Cameras In School Classrooms UK?

School CCTV cameras are allowed to be set up both in and around school sites to help ensure the safety of both staff members and pupils. The UK Department for Education published their Site Security Guidance back in November 2019 which states that a type ‘A’ monitored alarm is essential for school buildings, especially those that are remote from residential areas.

Most CCTV cameras in schools are positioned outside the building and in hallways to capture crime. However, there is a lack of cameras found within classrooms due to the lack of money to purchase them and controversial views. The only places where schools are unable to position cameras are private areas such as changing rooms and toilets.

To find out whether schools need a licence for CCTV read our article about if CCTV can be hacked.

Do Primary Schools Have CCTV? 

Just like all other types of UK schools, primary schools have reported that they would like to have CCTV installed for multiple reasons. Back in 2012, the BBC did a study on CCTV in schools and recorded comments from the public. For example, a primary school class in Stirling, Scotland commented “We think there should be CCTV in the playground, corridors, and cloakrooms to protect our school and our belongings”.

Despite this, installing CCTV is entirely up to the school and the opinion of administrators, parents, and teachers. Each school must decide which option is the best way to address any issues or conflicting opinions when it comes to security within school classrooms.

school cctv cameras

How Long Do Security Cameras Keep Footage In Schools?

CCTV security cameras will usually keep their footage for around 30 days. However, the amount of time footage is kept will vary depending upon the amount of security space available to the system. Many security systems will be set up to overwrite old video content and make way for new ones.

All footage must be used responsibly and be filed safely as The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act protects all personal recordings of students. Both students and parents have the right to inspect any video they feature and give their approval for any video releases.

Importance Of CCTV Cameras In School

The use of CCTV cameras in school is highly important as crime can take place anywhere at any time. The latest Youth Justice Statistics reported that 15,800 children were either cautioned or sentenced within the last year, proving that even the students themselves may be committing crimes.

As well as this, in recent years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people committing knife crimes with around 41,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded last year.

These figures are relatively high and are met by disapproval from the public. A result of this could be parents worrying about the welfare of their child when at school due to the lack of security systems at both UK primary and high schools.

It is hoped that by installing cameras, parents will feel more at ease while their children are at school and any potential crimes involving knives can be caught early and therefore be prevented.

Advantages Of CCTV Cameras In Schools

CCTV cameras in schools come with both advantages and disadvantages. It is a topic with very mixed views from the public, so we have listed some benefits of CCTV cameras  in schools and why they are useful:


  • Increased Deterrent
  • Improved Performance
  • Crime Detection
  • Reduced Fear
  • Reduces Anti-Social Behaviour

Increased Deterrent

CCTV cameras are known for being a great deterrent. Crime rates will often drop significantly once cameras have been installed throughout schools as students are aware that their actions are on film and any wrongdoing can be punished.

Improved Performance

The introduction of CCTV in schools can also encourage improved performance from pupils. Now that they can no longer commit crimes without being caught, they may instead focus on their educational needs.

Crime Detection

The main reason for CCTV cameras is to detect crime. If the school is unfortunate enough to fall victim to a crime such as theft or vandalism it will have been recorded on camera. Providing the footage contains evidence, this can be passed on to the police and the matter will be dealt with accordingly. It is important to ensure cameras are in the correct places to capture the crime, such as the back of buildings or any alleyways.

Reduced Fear

If crimes were regularly being committed throughout the school, the introduction of cameras will now help put other students’ minds at ease. Knowing they are being protected by security will allow for a comfortable environment for both students and staff alike.

Reduces Anti-Social Behaviour

Bullying and Anti-Social Behaviour take place across all UK schools and is a huge problem that staff members try to eliminate. The use of CCTV will record any acts of bullying and identify which pupils are carrying out this behaviour. Any victim of bullying will feel better knowing they have evidence to prove the harassment and will be able to receive support from staff if necessary.

do schools have cctv cameras

Disadvantages Of CCTV Cameras In Schools

It is also important to look at the negative side of CCTV in schools and the possible impacts it may have on people. We have listed some of these below:


  • Hostile Environment
  • Monitoring Performance
  • Privacy Issues
  • Expensive
  • Cannot Stop Crime

Hostile Environment

It is expected for CCTV cameras in school to encourage good behaviour from students, however, it is known for cameras to have the opposite effect. The presence of cameras can make students feel as if there is a lack of trust and therefore influence them to respond negatively. Students often confide in teachers and knowing everything they say will be recorded may discourage them from seeking advice or help.

Monitoring Performance

A big disadvantage of school CCTV cameras is that they are constantly monitoring the performance of teachers. This may influence the relationship between teachers and students as they are under pressure and may not be as interactive with the class as a result. This can make the experience of learning in classrooms rather dull and impact their ability to learn.

Privacy Issues

Staff members and pupils may not feel comfortable with the fact they are constantly under surveillance. They may feel that cameras are an intrusion of their privacy and so it is important that conversations are allowed between pupils and staff to discuss the importance of cameras.


Installing multiple high-quality security cameras around the school premises can soon add up costs. There will also need to be devices which are able to connect to the security system and play back any camera footage.

Cannot Stop Crime

Another disadvantage of CCTV is although the crime is being recorded, it cannot stop the crime from being committed. If you are lucky enough to be able to spot the crime in action, then it makes it easier for the criminal to be caught. However, if the crime is committed out of school hours there will be nothing alerting to the crime, and may need to be combined with an alarm system for it to do so.

Why Should CCTV Be Installed In Schools?

Now we have been through both the advantages and disadvantages of school CCTV cameras, it is useful to determine the reason why they should be installed. In 2021 there were 8.9 million pupils attending 24,400 schools across England alone, including both state-funded and independent schools. This is many people, and with the average school having around 500 pupils, crime and anti-social behaviour is likely to occur.

Why Should Schools Have CCTV Cameras?

The reason why CCTV should be installed in schools is simple – to keep both staff members and students safe. This technology enables anything abnormal to be seen and acted against to ensure maximum protection. Examples can include a stranger with wrongful intentions entering the premises, bullying taking place on-site, and any safety hazards to the grounds.

On the other hand, there are multiple views about cameras in the classroom.

Should CCTV cameras be installed in classrooms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Also, head over to our news page so that you can stay up to date with all the latest CCTV news and find articles about the benefits of CCTV.

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