Sunderland teachers take 3,800 days off due to stress

Coun Niall Hodson.
Coun Niall Hodson.

Teachers across Sunderland took 3,800 days off due to stress in the last year, according to latest figures.

Research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that there were 3,846 days of absence by teachers across Wearside due to stress in the 2016/17 academic yea.

Stress and anxiety are fuelling the teacher recruitment and retention crisis

Coun Niall Hodson

They also found that there were 3,750 teachers in England on long-term stress leave in 2016/17, up 5% on the previous year.

It means one in 83 teachers is now on long-term leave of one month or more for stress and mental health issues, up from one in 95 three years ago and one in 90 last year.

Education spokesperson for the Lib Dems, Layla Moran, said the figures “laid bare the impossible pressures teachers are under” and warned that stress caused by an obsession with exam results is fuelling the teacher recruitment crisis.

Coun Niall Hodson, leader of the Lib Dem group in Sunderland, said: “It is simply unacceptable that those working tirelessly to do the best for our children are seeing their mental ill-health affected as a result.

“I’ve heard story after story of teachers experiencing ‘burn out’ due to factors including work-load or mishandled Ofsted inspections. But these are no longer just the rare or most extreme cases - they are increasingly common.

“Stress and anxiety are fuelling the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, but the Government’s current approach is making matters worse.

“We need fundamental reform of assessments and inspections in our schools, which are two of the greatest sources of anxiety for teachers.

“It is completely wrong that teachers are made to feel that they will be judged a success or a failure based on a single bad inspection or a class that doesn’t perform as well as expected.

“The Government must also end the real-term cuts to pay for teachers that are leaving them feeling overworked and undervalued.”

In total 1.3 million days have been taken off by teachers for stress and mental health reasons in the last four years, including around 312,000 in 2016/17.

The 312,000 days taken off for stress and mental health reasons in 2016/17 are equivalent to losing 1,600 teachers each working 185 days a year.

A spokesman for Sunderland’s Together for Children, said they did not want to comment on the figures.