The UK's sixth form schools and colleges are rife with internet plagiarism, reports the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). In a recent survey, one third of teachers polled believe that over half of the work they mark is plagiarised from sources on the internet.

One teacher taking part commented: "I had one piece of work so blatantly cut and pasted that it still contained adverts from the web page."

According to ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted, the emphasis on passing tests and getting high scores is to blame.

"Unsurprisingly pupils are using all the means available to push up their course work marks, often at the expense of any real understanding of the subjects they are studying."

The survey also highlighted that 55 percent of teachers feel there is a lack of understanding by students between legitimate research and plagiarism.

"I think the majority of students who engage in plagiarism do it more out of ignorance than the desire to cheat, they really want to succeed on their own merit. Once a student clearly understands what plagiarism is, its consequences and how to reference correctly so they can draw on published works, it becomes less of a problem," says Diana Baker from Emmanuel College in Durham.