Sunday, 2 March 2008

Lancashire LEA - Failure ?

Stressed teachers take half a million days off
By Joanna Corrigan Monday, 18 February 2008

Teachers took more than half a million days off work last year due to stress at a cost to the taxpayer of £84 million, figures indicate.

More than 200 teachers went off sick for the whole year after apparently cracking under the pressure of dealing with unruly pupils, the statistics show.

Ninety local education authorities supplied statistics after requests under the Freedom of Information Act. If the figures are repeated across all 172 LEAs they suggest that teachers took 546,000 days off due to stress.

Seven LEAs admitted losing more than 10,000 teaching days because of stress. The worst was Lancashire, which lost 16,098 teaching days, following by Shropshire on 14,552.

Teachers’ unions claim that staff are at breaking point because of government targets, badly-behaved pupils, long hours and low pay.

A spokesman for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said: “We must ensure the stresses are legitimate - not in pursuit of some fatuous target.”

The figures come as Gordon Brown is facing the prospect of the first national teachers’ strike for 20 years. The National Union of Teachers is balloting its members on a one-day strike over pay in April.