Teachers are taking absence due to stress. Following a freedom of information request to Bexley Council in London, it was revealed that a total of 297 days were lost to stress. There has been widespread reporting on excessive teacher workloads but what should schools do about it? 
 
Bexley Council revealed how many teachers were required to take time out to recover from stress following a freedom of information request. 
 
The authority was asked for the most recent data for “the number of teachers on long-term stress leave during the last year.” The council said: “In maintained schools 11 teachers were absent in the past year due to stress including depression and anxiety. The total days lost were 297.” 
 
Earlier this year, education secretary Damian Hinds admitted too many teachers were overwhelmed by excessive workloads. He pledged to relieve the causes of stress that keep staff out of the classroom. 
 
Bexley Council said the figure made up a small percentage of staff absence, and that stress is not necessarily to do with work. A spokesman said: “As a local authority, we are of course aware of the importance of teacher well-being and just how demanding the role can be. Through our partnership work and our HR function we actively seek to support staff well-being in our community schools; this includes minimising additional workloads and providing access to a confidential counselling service. 
 
“National indicators do not highlight Bexley as having a specific problem with absence due to stress in our schools. The figure you have quoted in your enquiry relates to a very small number of employees out of 277 whose sickness absence falls under the broad categorisation of anxiety, depression and stress and as such is not necessarily work-related stress.” 
 
In January the Union of Education warned of a national teacher stress epidemic in England, saying that was to blame for more than 3,000 teachers taking long term sick leave last year. 
 
Long hours, exam targets and additional admin have all be citied by teachers across the country as reasons for the added stress. 
 
Bexley Council pointed out a majority of schools in the borough are now academies and would have their own support structures.The council spokesman added: “The total number of working days completed by the entire teaching workforce in our community schools is 54,210 days, making the percentage of days you class as ‘lost’ to be 0.006 per cent.” 
 
This widespread epidemic can be prevented. If school leaders commission resilience training for their teaching staff, they will gain the tools to not only cope and manage stress but to excel in spite of it. 
 
Paula is a trained specialist who works with cutting-edge technology to accurately relieve stress levels. She has been helping institutions and individuals strengthen their resilience and improve performance in a personal and professional capacity for over 15 years.  
 
To find out more about how Paula can help your teaching staff, get in touch by calling 07803 072 101 or email paula@paularuane.com 
 
Source: News Hopper 
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