Staff Use of Social Media in Sydney Catholic Schools Policy


Policy Number: TL201504-1.1 Version/Last Updated: 1.1 December 2015 Audience: Public Commencement: 18 November 2015

1.0 Rationale

The educational landscape has changed significantly in regards to the use of, and potential benefits of, social media in education. Educators are interested in the ability to leverage social tools to facilitate engagement with the syllabus, encourage the learning process and to increase teacher and student communication. Although there are concerns about the anonymity of some social media tools, the permanency of material submitted and the potential for online bullying; social media is in fact an evangelising tool for the Catholic Church. It is a way of connecting with young people in a space that they use frequently.

The purpose of this policy is to clarify the parameters for the acceptable use of social media by all staff employed in Catholic systemic schools and offices in the Archdiocese of Sydney. This policy addresses the use of social media in all contexts, including its use as part of student learning activities, in teacher and student engagement and in sharing content within professional learning networks and communities. It also applies to the personal use of social media platforms by staff, and how this use might impact on themselves, and on others, in the delivery of their professional duties and responsibilities.

At the centre of this policy is the acknowledgement that the wellbeing and safety of students and staff are always the system’s highest priority. All use of social media by staff at Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) should reflect this.

2.0 Guiding Principles

SCS supports its employees’ use of social media and content sharing sites. This approach is consistent with the use of the CloudShare platform that has been rolled out in Sydney Catholic schools.


Online behaviour should at all times demonstrate a respect for the dignity of each person.


Staff must, at all times, behave in an ethical manner when using social media.


Engagement in social media should be for the purposes of collaboration, communication and engagement within an educational/learning context.


Staff should always remain aware of their professional responsibilities, even when using their personal social media accounts.


Staff personal social media use must be congruent with the professional standards expected of an employee of SCS (see Code of Professional Conduct).


Staff posting or responding to a team social media account are doing so as a representative of SCS.

3.0 Policy

State and Federal legislation and the child protection protocols and policies of SCS must always be observed.


Staff are expected to instruct students to act in accordance with Student Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement before they engage in social media.


The Principal is to approve any local use of social media.


The relevant age limits for students using social media platforms must be strictly observed.


Each school must ensure that students have the necessary parental permissions before they can engage in the use of social media.


Creation of an SCS social media team or specific project account can only be done with the approval of the relevant Director and the Head of Communications.


When staff are using social media in a professional context, an account must be created specifically for this purpose. Personal social media accounts should be for personal use only.


Staff must respect students’ rights to privacy, consistent with the relevant laws and regulations and student and parent choice.

4.0 Procedures

Responsibility of Principal:


Principals may wish to develop local guidelines with respect to learning activities using social media within the school.


Responsibility of all staff:


Discuss with the Principal any intended use of social media within the school, clearly outlining the purpose and the educational goals.


When staff choose to use social media in a professional context, a specific account used exclusively for that purpose should be created.


Clearly communicate to students their responsibilities for appropriate interaction with others on social media as outlined in the Student Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement.


Highlight to students the importance of responsible digital citizenship (which includes advice and strategies for them remaining safe when online).


Ensure that staff profiles adhere to the guidelines provided in the SCS communications policy.


Ensure the use of social media within the school adheres to the guidelines for the use of SCS/school logos found in the SCS Style Guide due for release in 2016.

5.0 Bases of Discretion


6.0 Explanatory Notes and Definitions

Social Media sites:

These are web-based media sites for creating connections and maintaining relationships and communities. Both professional and personal profiles can be created using a social media platform (e.g. LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook).


Creating an account:

Each new user must create an account before they can use a social media site. This requires the user to provide some personal information. The amount of required information varies.



The Google Apps for Education (GAFE) environment is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for staff and students at SCS. CloudShare is the nominated learning and collaboration platform for staff and students at SCS.

7.0 Supporting Documents

Related policies


Supporting documents

  • ‘New Horizons: Inspiring Spirits and Minds’ SCS Strategic Plan
  • Media Consent Form
  • Anti-Bullying Website(internal)
  • Child Safe Schools Website (internal)
  • Workplace Realities in the Catholic School – A Framework For Those Employed In Catholic Education
  • Australian Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Internet Safety
  • ‘Social Networking Protocol for the Catholic Church in Australia’ published by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, December 2009.

8.0 Appendices


9.0 Classification

Policy Number:TL201504-1.1


Version: 1.1

Last modified: December 2015

This policy supersedes all previous policies relating to matters contained therein. In so much as any aspect of this policy may appear to be in conflict with another Archdiocesan system or school-based policy, then precedence is to be given to this policy.


Audience: Public


Review by: September 2017

Changing laws, legal precedents, and experience may all serve as triggers for immediate review.


Approved by Leadership Team: 8 October 2015


Endorsed by SACS Board: NA


Approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 10 November 2015


Commencement Date: 18 November 2015

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