The number of teachers barred for the profession for inappropriate use of social media has more than doubled in the past year.
Figures from National College of Training and Leadership disciplinary hearings show that 17 of the 100 hearings held last year stemmed from complaints about the use of social media sites, with 16 of the 17 being banned.
An analysis of the figures by Academies Week has revealed that in more than a third of the cases, the initial contact developed from the teacher having a relationship with a pupil, in some cases sexual. The majority – three out of every four - involved male teachers.
In one case, Daniel Laurikietis, a 32-year-old drama teacher, was barred after instigating a relationship with a 15-year-old pupil from a Lancashire secondary school. He admitted supplying the girl with alcohol during a visit to his house before “performing a sexual act” on her.
Only one case did not involve contact with pupils - a supply teacher from Plymouth posted offensive tweets about Scottish people, Catholics, Muslims and immigrants. At the time, the teacher, Ronald Northcott, was a Ukip candidate, but he has since resigned.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Teachers are in a privileged position and we insist on the highest professional standards from them at all times.
“In our updated guidance on cyberbullying, we make clear that teachers should not accept friend requests from pupils and urge schools to put policies in place that set out acceptable behaviour for pupils and teachers, including outside school.”