Type: Policy

Classification: Operational
Policy Number: TL201802
Version: 2.0
Updated:  October 2018

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. Schools can utilise social media to maximise their community engagement, particularly as it relates to parents and prospective parents. 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 can, in fact, be 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.

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, as well as community engagement in a marketing 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.

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 in line with this policy.

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 account for a SCS team or specific project can only be done with the approval of the relevant Director and the Head of the Marketing and Communications team.

When staff members 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 members must respect student’s right to privacy, consistent with the relevant laws and regulations and student and parent choice.

Responsibility of Principal/Director:
Principals may wish to develop local guidelines with respect to learning activities using social media within the school.
Principals/Directors (or their delegate) are expected to educate staff members of their rights and responsibilities in line with Staff acceptable use of technology policy and the SCS Code of Professional Conduct.
Principals/Directors are responsible for ensuring the effective use of social media for marketing and community engagement in line with relevant SCS policies and guidelines Staff acceptable use of technology policy and the SCS Code of Professional Conduct.

Responsibility of all staff:
Discuss with the Principal/Director any intended use of social media within the school/team/project, clearly outlining the purpose and the educational goals.
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/team adheres to the guidelines for the use of SCS/school logos found in the SCS Style Guide. SCS Communications Policy.
Ensures the use of social media for marketing purposes adheres to the Marketing via Digital Communications and Social Media policy and guidelines.

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 GSuite 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.

Related policies

Supporting documents

Policy Number:TL201802-2.0

Version: 2.0
Last modified: October 2018
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: March 2021
Changing laws, legal precedents, and experience may all serve as triggers for immediate review.

Originally approved by Leadership Team: 8 October 2015
Review approved by Leadership Team: 15 February 2018

Originally approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 10 November 2015
Review approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 30 October 2018

Commencement Date: 18 November 2015 (reviewed 2018)