New figures show 70% reduction in days Suffolk teachers take off work

Teachers are taking less time off during term time, according to new statistics

Teachers are taking less time off during term time, according to new statistics - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of days Suffolk teachers are taking off work has reduced by 70% over five years, new figures reveal.

For 2014/15, 7,410 days were lost because teachers were absent. This is a sharp fall since 2010-11 when 24,745 days were taken off. The absence could be for any reason – including sickness, bereavement – any authorised or unauthorised time off during term time.

Last night education bosses hailed the figures, released through a Freedom of Information request, saying the council “works closely” with headteachers to manage teachers’ health and wellbeing.

A council spokesman said: “Support is given by training, advice and guidance from HR and from medical specialists. The aim is to prevent absence in the first place and deal with it swiftly when it does occur, in order to ensure stability in schools and good outcomes for children.”

Suffolk’s biggest teacher union, the NUT, claimed the statistics were “confusing and possibly misleading”.

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Graham White, secretary of the county’s NUT branch, said the number of teachers taking time off because of stress is actually on the increase.

He said: “From my experience I have not seen the numbers decreasing for sickness. Schools have become much less flexible on private and personal leave which includes graduations, funerals, weddings.

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The reasons behind staff taking time off, including stress and depression, stopped being recorded by the council during 2010/11.

During 2009/10, 12% of the 26,907 days lost were due to stress, depression or anxiety.

There are 4,372 teachers in Suffolk, according to the statistics.

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