Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 15°C

Five-day forecast

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

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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
5:15 PM

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

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

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.”

Share this article

0 comments

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.

Forgotten your password?

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

   Local advertisers

More news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Newham Recorder on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Newham businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Newham Recorder, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Around the Web See all