Search

Work-related health problems blamed as sick days almost double in five years

17:15 15 April 2014

Newham Teachers Association members: (left to right) Divisional Secretary Peter Smith, 64, Assistant secretary Iain Hale, 54 and president Peg Probett, 61.

Newham Teachers Association members: (left to right) Divisional Secretary Peter Smith, 64, Assistant secretary Iain Hale, 54 and president Peg Probett, 61.

Archant

Absenteeism rates among the borough’s teachers as a result of work-related stress have soared, latest figures reveal.

The statistics, based on every school in the borough, were obtained by the Recorder following a Freedom of Information request.

It shows the total number of sick days taken due to stress, depression, anxiety, neurasthenia mental health and fatigue has jumped from 955 in 2008 to 1702 in 2013, almost double to what they were five years ago.

Teachers’ representative, Peg Probett, president of Newham’s Teacher’s Association (NTA) says the dramatic increases in stress related absences comes “as no surprise.”

The 61-year-old who taught at Essex Primary school in Manor Park for 20 years says it was anxiety and pressure of work which forced her to take early retirement at the age of 57.

“In any conversations I’ve had with teachers, their biggest concern has always been stress and workload,” she said.

“I retired because of stress and high blood pressure from working very long hours and I knew if I didn’t go then I was going to be really ill.

“Since I’ve stopped teaching I’ve had no trouble with my health,” she added.

Peg said the stress comes from the government’s constant changes to the curriculum and the threat of Ofsted which puts pressure on the head and cascades down to teachers.

Peter Smith, NTA Divisional Secretary said he has no doubt those figures would significantly decline if Education Secretary, Michael Gove, were to “abolish Ofsted for the next five years”.

“The introduction of performance related pay and meeting targets tell us nothing about the education of students,” he added

NTA assistant secretary Iain Hale said: “It is no surprise to me but nonetheless shocking that there is an almost doubling of the numbers of teachers off work due to stress related illnesses.

“In the current environment of increasingly unrealistic targets imposed by the government it is obvious why so many are falling ill and leaving.”

A spokesman from the Department of Education said councils and academy trusts had systems in place to identify and tackle stress.

He added: “We trust the professionalism of our headteachers to monitor their staff’s workload and address any issues.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

16:30
Reporter Mark Shales in Beijing

Reporter Mark Shales is in China on a tour of facilities operated by ABP, the company that are developing a business district in Newham’s Royal Albert Dock. Here he blogs for the first time about his experience overseas...

China
15:23
Police at the scene in Eversleigh road

Neighbours have expressed their “shock” and “sadness” following the death of a woman in East Ham.

London police
Salisbury summer school team (l-r) Mohammad Moulvi, Yvonne Ackuaku and Aneesa Raja

Summer holidays are upon us and school staff and students are looking forward to a well deserved break.

A model of the sculpture of theatre director Joan Littlewood outside Theatre Royal Stratford East.

A sculpture to honour legendary theatre director Joan Littlewood is to be unveiled in Stratford later this year.

Most read news

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder