TeACHERS must be aware of the potential dangers of social networking websites and avoid overstepping professional boundaries on school trips, according to newly-published standards for the profession.
The new Code of Professionalism and Conduct, launched this week by the Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, attempts to set out the key principles and values by which registered teachers should abide.
The regulations remind teachers that they are "a role model to pupils"; that they should work in a "collegiate and co-operative manner" with colleagues and other professions; and that they should be up-to-date with child-protection procedures.
For the first time, a commentary accompanies the regulations, illustrating situations where they might apply. "Teachers need to be cautious while still embracing new technology," said John Anderson, head of professional practice for the General Teaching Council for Scotland, who has spent more than a year working on the code. It replaces the Professional Code for Registered Teachers, published in 2003.
Teachers are advised to "exercise extreme caution" in relation to "contactweb cam internet sites", such as chatrooms, and to avoid "sending emails or text messages to pupils of an inappropriate or personal nature".
The quality of Scotland's teachers should be celebrated, but not taken for granted, said Ms Hyslop. She praised the code for setting out clear rules and responsibilities. "It informs teachers what is acceptable in and out of the classroom and explains to members of the public what they can expect from teachers," she said.