Sunday 16 January 2011

Stress on teaching staff

Further to the article in today's Scotland on Sunday about teacher absences from work due to stress during 2009/10, I have written to Dundee City Council’s Director of Education asking what steps he will take to help reduce the high (4%) teacher absence level in the city caused by stress, what procedures are in place to help teachers in stressful situations and the support the council makes available.

The Dundee figures are :

Number of teachers absent with stress : 60

Number of teachers employed by local authority : 1,509

% absent  :   4.0%

The 4% absence rate of teachers in Dundee due to stress last year is of concern – Dundee’s absence rate is significantly higher than Aberdeen’s (1.6%) and Edinburgh’s (2.6%).   I therefore asked the Director of Education what steps are in place to help teachers in stressful situations, and what further can be done to reduce Dundee’s absences rate.

We owe it to the teaching profession to help teachers in stressful situations. Tackling teacher stress will make education provision more productive and will save the City Council money.

Supporting teachers is vital and I am concerned that the policies of the Dundee SNP administration may make the situation worse.  I would particularly point to reports they are putting forward to reduce promoted posts in primary and secondary schools that will simply add to the burden on teachers.