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 Newham News Stories

Yesterday, 18:15
Newham Council said the rates had not increased for five years

Business owners have warned that hundreds of jobs could be lost after a “diabolical” rise in unit costs.

Newham Council
Yesterday, 15:55
Police took four teenagers to an east London police station where they currently remain. Picture: PA images

Four teenagers aged between 14 and 16 remain in custody following an alleged stabbing on Barking Road.

Yesterday, 14:08
Young mayor of Newham Alex Jarrett is filmed by mental health campaigners Saif and Faz

Young Mayor of Newham, Alex Jarrett, 15, wants to provide advice and counselling about mental health as part of her year’s manifesto. She was interviewed by TNG (The New Generation), a group of young mental health campaigners, who are making online support videos as part of their Stay Alive campaign.

Newham
Yesterday, 13:11
The Beat the Street campaign to get children active launches at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  Ashmi Fernando, age 10 with Charlie Gordon

How far can you walk or cycle across east London?

Elizabeth Olympic

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe