Worthy of respect

13th April 2007 at 01:00
The prospect of being told off by a closed circuit television camera seems weird and Orwellian enough. But the experience will be even stranger for teachers in Blackpool, who may find themselves reprimanded by one of their pupils if they are caught littering or being disorderly.

To applause from the Govern-ment, Middlesbrough has already piloted CCTV cameras with built-in amplifiers. Operators are able to speak live to miscreants or have the option of playing recordings, which include children asking litterbugs to pick up their rubbish.

Blackpool has taken the concept further and has asked pupils at six schools to compete to come up with the best messages that "complement the Respect agenda".

The winning child or group will tour Blackpool police station and become the first voice of the system when it is installed in May.

Teachers visiting The TES online staffroom were not convinced children should be involved. One wrote: "My preference for an intimidating electronic voice would be one resembling Joyce Grenfell, Margaret Thatcher, Hyacinth Bucket or Ian Paisley."

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