Teachers say that CCTV cameras originally introduced into schools as a safety measure are now being used to spy on them.
The NASUWT has conducted a survey of around 7,500 teachers and found that nearly one in ten (8 per cent) have CCTV installed in their classrooms.
Of those teachers, 89 per cent say they cannot switch the cameras off, 55 per cent said that recordings were monitored by school management, and 41 per cent said that CCTV had been used to form judgements of staff performance.
The union is warning that it could take industrial action in schools where it believes that cameras are being misused by school management.
“In my school it has been used specifically with newly qualified teachers that the senior leadership team think are not performing well,” one teacher said.
Only 2 per cent of those responding thought that CCTV supported teaching and learning or helped training.
Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “Teachers are already wrestling with excessive monitoring, masquerading as classroom observation, carried out by senior management and a host of other people regularly visiting their classrooms.
“Now, in some schools, they are being subjected to permanent surveillance through CCTV cameras. Lab rats have more professional privacy.”
Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Birmingham will today debate a motion condemning the “excessive monitoring” of teachers in schools arguing that it “stifles creativity in education”.
Of the survey respondents that had TV cameras in their classroom, two thirds said they had been introduced for pupil safety and 58 per cent for staff safety. But some say they are actually being used for very different purposes and nearly a third viewed CCTV as an invasion of their professional privacy.
“I have seen senior staff members with my head of department looking at footage in the school office,” one teacher said. “When I asked what my head of department was doing watching a colleague in this way she said she was trying to catch him out.”
Ms Keates said: “No other professionals are subjected to such appalling treatment. No one should be subjected to the stress and pressure of being watched constantly.
“The NASUWT will support members in resisting such practices in schools where such abuse is taking place through all appropriate means, including industrial action.”