Stress-related teacher absences is ‘deeply worrying’

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Stress related teacher absences attributed to work pressures in local schools have more than doubled.

The data produced by East Renfrewshire Council shows that the total number of stress related teacher absences increased from 852 in 2016/17 to 1657 in 2017/18.

Local politicians have all voiced their concernsover the statistics.

Jackson Carlaw MSP said: “We have a fantastic set of schools in Eastwood and that is in large part down to the excellent teaching staff in our classrooms.

As these figures show, increasing demands in the classroom are having a negative impact on the well-being of our teachers.”

West of Scotland MSP Maurice Golden added: “The large increase in the number of teacher absences due to work related stress in East Renfrewshire schools is deeply worrying.

“More has to be done to prevent this situation from deteriorating further and to support the teachers who do invaluable work educating our children.”

A spokesman for the council said: “The mental health and wellbeing of all employees is a key area of focus for the council and we have a number of support measures in place.

“These include a confidential counselling service to address a wide range of issues, occupational health support for long-term absences, and training to increase staff resilience and mental health awareness.

“Since 2015, the number of teachers employed in our schools has increased by almost 90, with work-related stress remaining fairly constant during this period.

“So whilst 2017/18 presented an increase on the 2016/17 levels of absence relating to stress, both years displayed a significant reduction on 2015/16 levels and highlights that our approach in this area is making an impact.

“All public sector organisations are taking steps to address rising levels of stress, which are often caused by financial concerns, coping with a bereavement, relationships and family problems.”

The spokesman added: “We are continuing to work hard to manage absence levels across the council to ensure as much support as possible is available for employees.”