The oft-quoted canard that Britons are captured on CCTV "300 times a day" was exposed a few months ago by David Aaronovitch as dubious at best, highly inaccurate at worst. Yet that hasn't stopped one south London school from trying to make it a reality. Stockwell Park High has installed nearly 100 cameras in classrooms, corridors and play areas in order to scrutinise students. In a classic case of creeping normalcy, the school initially brought in the system to monitor perimeter fences and protect equipment from vandalism, but decided to steadily add more and more cameras, as they helped reduce truancy and ensured teaching standards were met. But like an addict, the school simply doesn't know when to quit: they've taken advantage of rebuilding work to slip in the comprehensive Classwatch system, rigging up a network of 28 cameras in classrooms, capable of producing sound and vision permissible in a court of law. Or, indeed, on a broadcast television system; if Channel 4 can get millions of viewers to watch a show with vapid wannabes performing dignity-stripping tasks, just think how popular a fly-on-the-wall expose of an inner city comp would be.
Last Updated 21 July 2009