New figures have revealed that teachers increasingly take time off work due to stress and mental health issues.
With long-running concerns about workloads and growing class sizes, council-controlled schools in England and Wales data shows that the number of days lost to mental health issues has increased by 7% from the previous year. It is also up by almost a fifth compared to three years ago.
This rise in sick days is no surprise given the increasing pressure teachers face in the classroom. Poor working conditions, including large class sizes and excessive workloads, affect teachers’ mental health.
These figures highlight the need for action to be taken to improve working conditions for teachers. Without such action, teachers’ mental health will continue to deteriorate, leading to even more sick days and negatively impacting the quality of education.
As the government continues to ignore the plight of teachers, it is clear that more needs to be done to support this vital profession. Teacher unions have called for an urgent review of working conditions, and it is time that the government listened to their demands.
Only by taking action to improve teachers’ working conditions will we see a reduction in the number of sick days being taken. This is vital for the well-being of teachers and the future of education in this country.
After the union strike in October, the Department for Education (DfE) published guidance on how to deal with excessive workloads. This included a promise to monitor the situation and take action if necessary. However, there is no evidence that this guidance is having any impact on the ground.
The DfE must do more to reduce teachers’ workload and improve working conditions. Only then will we see a reduction in the number of sick days being taken by teachers.
According to the new education secretary, Gavin Williamson, the government is committed to supporting teachers. However, this commitment must be matched by action. The government must set out a clear plan to improve teachers’ working conditions and reduce the excessive workloads that are taking their toll on mental health.
Only by taking such action will we see a reduction in the number of sick days taken by teachers. This is vital for the well-being of teachers and the future of education in this country.
In addition, the director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, Julie McCulloch, said: “The biggest problem is workload, and this is often cited, alongside pay, as one of the main reasons we have a very high staff turnover rate in education, with 40% of teachers leaving within ten years of qualifying.”
“During the pandemic, schools and staff had to do much additional work. This will have left many staff feeling burnt out, and we are also hearing that some have come out of the pandemic with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“The government needs to review teachers’ working conditions urgently and implement measures to reduce workloads.”
“This is vital for the wellbeing of teachers and the future of education in this country.”
What can the DfE initiate to help these teachers handle their day-to-day responsibilities? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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