Stress absence rise among teachers

Posed by a model.

Posed by a model.

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The executive member for education says the council supports its teachers adequately, despite a large rise last year in days lost due to stress.

Teaching staff were absent for an extra 500 working days in 2012/13 because of the condition, a Freedom of Information request has shown.

While Sandy Aitchison admits the job is stressful, he says help is available.

The Galashiels councillor told us: “It is not always possible to divide occupational stress from the other stresses of life which have increased in recent years, but at SBC, I am assured we have the measures in place to assist and help any of our staff who need that help. Teachers should be aware that help exists and as part of a team in any school they should look after each other to detect early signs of stress and depression in their colleagues and talk honestly within their school. Stress affects all of us – there is no shame in seeking early help.”

A spokesman for the teaching union EIS said there had been a significant rise in stress-related illness.

He added: “Heavy workload, combined with other issues such as pupil indiscipline and rising class sizes, can place teachers under a great deal of stress.

“All local authorities have a duty of care to all their employees, including teachers, to ensure a workplace that is conducive to good health and well-being.”