SCOTTISH teachers are under pressure to use email or social networking sites to stay in contact with pupils during weekends and evenings, a union warned.

Delegates at NASUWT's conference will hear of concerns that headteachers expect staff to help with issues such as study queries outside school hours using electronic media.

A motion from the union's Dumfries and Galloway branch urges its executive council to write to councils ruling out any expectation "of staff contact via social networking or other electronic media with pupils".

In September last year, the General Teaching Council of Scotland, the regulatory body for teachers, published tough guidelines on social networking sites.

It warned against teachers "engaging in an in-appropriate way through the internet" with pupils or "sending emails or text messages ... of an inappropriate nature". "Be mindful that the internet and social networking can quickly blur the professional boundary between teacher and pupil," it adds.

NASUWT's Richard Bell said: "There is greater pressure for teachers to have greater engagement with pupils and parents, and part of this has been cases where headteachers are asking staff to use electronic media outside school hours. Teachers who are doing this are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position."