SCOTTISH teachers' leaders have issued a warning over new "cheating watches" being advertised online.

The digital watches are specifically marketed as being suitable for cheating and include an "emergency button" to switch from hidden text to a clock face.

The watches are currently sold on online shopping sites with one model promising 4GB of electronic storage for text files or images, to be read on the screen of the watch.

This "watch for easier studying" is also marketed as being compatible with a mini wireless earpiece while another advert promises a watch that is "perfect for covertly viewing exam notes directly on your wrist".

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, said: "With the advances in technology there comes more ingenious ways of undermining the rules for examinations and schools and teachers have to be more vigilante and more technologically aware.

"Teachers regularly emphasize to their students the importance of not cheating in their exam work, but the advent of new devices such as these watches increase the temptation to cheat.

"There is so much pressure from all quarters to succeed in exams it will be inevitable and vigilance by schools is essential."

A spokesman for the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union added: "The issue of potential use of technology for cheating in exams is not new, but it has grown more challenging to stop with the growth of ownership of small devices such as these watches.

"The message to students who might be tempted to cheat is that it's simply not worth the risk, and could have serious and long-lasting repercussions for their future."

In February it emerged that the number of Scottish pupils found cheating in school exams has risen by more than a third - although numbers are still very low. There were 163 cases of malpractice last summer compared to 119 the previous year and more than 200 in 2013. The latest figure amounts to just 0.031 per cent of the total number of exam entries.

Plagiarism accounted for 87 cases and there were 39 cases of collusion, nine cases where a mobile phone was used and 14 instances of pupils using crib notes.

Exam results were cancelled in 119 cases, a revision of marks where a particular section was omitted was applied in 13 cases and warnings were given in 31 cases.

Smart watches or digital watches with concealed content would be covered by rules banning electronic devices from exam halls, such as mobile phones or any other computer technology.

Jean Blair, director of operations at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, said any form of cheating in exams was "totally unacceptable".

She said: “It is testament to the continued vigilance of teachers, lecturers, markers and invigilators that it is only a tiny minority of pupils who engage in malpractice.

"Any kind of malpractice is totally unacceptable and the figures published in February send a strong message that each and every instance will be investigated thoroughly.

"We will continue to work with schools, colleges and the teaching profession to ensure that our zero tolerance approach is applied everywhere and every time."