Schools advised to use either name OR photo

Head teachers have been issued with an advisory document by the Department for Education and Skills to counter paedophiles, which gives ultra-cautious advice over photographs.

A copy, obtained by Press Gazette, warns that “providing the name and photograph of a pupil either in written, website or video format allows for the possibility that people outside the school might identify and then attempt to contact pupils directly”.

It advises heads: “When considering the use of photographs of children, avoid close-up pictures of individual children where possible and instead, use general shots of classroom or group activities.

“Decide whether there is a need for the school and/or the pupils to be identified at all. If there is a need, avoid captions that give the children’s full names.”

The document says that in some cases, the use of false names by a school would be justified.

Most worryingly for the press, it recommends that “as a broad rule of thumb”, undecided heads should adopt this approach: “If the pupil is named, avoid using their photograph. If the photograph is used, avoid naming the pupil.”

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