A MUSSELBURGH teacher has caused controversy after he admitted pupils should use the often-inaccurate website Wikipedia as a resource tool.

Ollie Bray, deputy headteacher at Musselburgh Grammar, insists it is better to teach pupils how to use the website properly rather than ban it altogether.

The award-winning teacher made the contentious comments during a keynote speech and workshop at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers Annual Conference, held at Edinburgh Academy.

During his speech, Mr Bray said he believed it would be a good idea for schools to write and publish their own Wikipedia entry.

The geography teacher's argued that such a move would present an opportunity for a cross-curricular project, and it would also contribute to the positive ethos of a school.

He added that many schools already have Wikipedia articles written about them, with some presenting a negative picture of the learning community at large.

But critics say the online encyclopaedia has a reputation for being unreliable because anyone can edit the information held on the site, And parent groups have hit back, claiming it makes their kids "lazy".

There have been a number of high profile mistakes on the site - the most recent being footballer Thierry Henry's entry which had to be locked as angry users vandalised his profile after his handball during the France versus Ireland World Cup play-off in Paris.

But, Mr Bray, who is currently seconded to Learning and Teaching Scotland as national adviser for emerging technologies in learning, is adamant that pupils be allowed access to Wikipedia during their lessons, and that teachers should also use the site to show pupils how to properly evaluate the reliability and credibility of information.

He said: "First of all, I'm not advocating students should be using Wikipedia as their only resource tool in school, but that they should be taught how to use the site properly.

"There is no point in banning it because I feel they will only access it at home or on their mobile phones.

"The main point I'm trying to make is we should be using all digital literacy sources available to us.

"Wikipedia pages have functions such as discussion tabs and history tabs which lets the user know how many times an entry has been edited.

"It's ideal for niche market subjects and for local experts, and not everything on there is wrong. In fact, Wikipedia openly states it's articles can be biased.

"Hopefully, my comments will open the debate surrounding the use of all online sources, not just Wikipedia.

Judith Gillespie, from the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said: "It's a good tool but at the end of the day it's just one tool.

"Using only Wikipedia is just lazy.

"It's important to realise that Wikipedia is just one resource that children can access online.

"Just because it is published on the internet, it doesn't mean it is correct.

" In our opinion, Wikipedia is fine for use, but only in conjunction with other sources." And a spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: "We provide access to Wikipedia to young people in schools. We are at the forefront of innovative use of the internet in schools in Scotland and are constantly reviewing how the internet can support pupils' learning. "Our young people are taught as part of the Curriculum for Excellence to research carefully and evaluate whether sources are 'trusted sources' of information. Many use Wikipedia at home and at school, which is why we make sure that they have good research skills." The Wikipedia website is edited by its own users, with the site's administrators monitoring the changes and responding to inaccuracies when they can.

A disclaimer on the site reads: "While Wikipedia articles generally attain a good standard after editing, it is important to note that fledgling, or less well monitored, articles may be susceptible to vandalism and insertion of false information."