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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Parents log on to nursery web cam
The Coach House Nursery
The Coach House Nursery is attended by 25 children
A nursery has installed web cameras in playrooms so parents can check their children while at work.

The cameras have been put into two rooms at The Coach House Nursery, which opened in Portishead in April.

All parents receive a password giving them access to a secure part of the nursery's website.

Owner Bob Bennett said: "We thought it would be a good idea if parents could watch their children while having a cup of tea at the office."

According to Mr Bennett, the cameras helped improve parents' peace of mind.

'Random check'

He said a BBC documentary, which showed secret footage taken at three nurseries and alleged children were being badly cared-for, had increased people's concerns about leaving their children.

"If you are a parent, how do you stop that happening?" Mr Bennett said.

"The web cams are great. Any parent can log on at any time.

"You don't know when they are logging in. It's a random check."

The cameras went live last week, and already five parents have signed up.

There are 25 children at the nursery, and Mr Bennett expects more parents to join the scheme in the next few weeks.

I can see what she is up to, what she is playing with, who she is with and whether she is playing with the other children.
Rachel Burkinshaw
He said technology used in the secure area of the nursery's website was also used by the US military.

Passwords are also changed regularly.

"People will not be able to log in unless they are parents," he said.

Accountant Rachel Burkinshaw, from Portishead, uses the web cameras to check up on the progress of her daughter Grace.

"It's great to be able to log on and, if Grace is in the bit near the camera, I can see what she is up to, what she is playing with, who she is with and whether she is playing with the other children," she said.

A spokeswoman for Ofsted, which regulates nurseries in England, said there were no rules on nurseries installing web cameras.

"However, nurseries will have to make sure they act in partnership with parents when setting up such a system and are able to demonstrate this to Ofsted," she said.

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