Head of teachers' union condemns Channel Five's 'underhand' filming of school pupils

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The Independent Online

The head of the country's biggest teaching union last night condemned the makers of a Channel Five documentary for secretly filming school pupils who are shown fighting and downloading porn. Pupils at six secondary schools in England were filmed by a teacher using cameras hidden in a button and a briefcase.

The head of the country's biggest teaching union last night condemned the makers of a Channel Five documentary for secretly filming school pupils who are shown fighting and downloading porn. Pupils at six secondary schools in England were filmed by a teacher using cameras hidden in a button and a briefcase.

But the programme Classroom Chaos, to be broadcast on Wednesday, has been criticised by the National Union of Teachers for using "underhand methods" to film the children.

Steve Sinnott, the general secretary of the NUT, said: "This is not an exposé of the BNP but of children who are learning.

"Our research has already shown that low-level disruption is a major problem in our schools. We condemn the methods used here."

The woman responsible for the filming, in her late 50s, is being identified only by a pseudonym, Sylvia Thomas.

She had reportedly returned to supply teaching after a 30-year-gap and taught at 18 schools over a six-month period.

Ms Thomas said she saw pupils fighting in class and using mobile phones.

She also said she was sworn at by pupils and falsely accused of touching them.

The individual pupils and teachers involved are not identified in the programme.

Channnel Five's senior programme controller, Chris Shaw, told the BBC: "I hope this film will open every parent's eyes to the chaos that reigns in many classrooms."

The executive in charge of the production, documentary-maker Roger Graef, said the decision to film in secret was not taken lightly. "We wanted to reveal what happens behind closed doors. Teachers are the only ones who know what goes on."

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