The Herald

Stressed teachers take half a million days off


SCOTTISH teachers have taken almost 500,000 days off for mental health reasons in the last three years, according to new figures.

A freedom of informatio­n request by the party showed teachers, headteache­rs, teaching support staff and nursery staff employed by councils have been off for 477,000 days due to mental health issues since 2013/14.

The figures show a yearon-year rise, with 158,639 days in 2015/16 compared with more than 150,000 in 2014/15 and almost 140,000 in 2013/14.

The Liberal Democrats, who obtained the data, said it shows the need to reduce the burden on teachers, who have complained about heavy workloads in recent years, and deliver mental health treatment when needed.

The party’s health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The fact teachers have taken nearly half a million days off work due to mental ill health paints a very worrying picture of a workforce that is under severe strain.

“The fact that numbers are rising year-on-year shows they are clearly not receiving the right support. It raises serious questions about the Scottish Government’s education and mental health policies.”

Stephanie Primrose, education spokeswoma­n for council umbrella body Cosla, said: “Councils are recognised as good employers by the Fair Work Convention.

“This is not only reflected in terms and conditions, but also in a responsibl­e and supportive attitude to health and safety at work.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoma­n said: “We continue to work closely with unions and local authoritie­s to address issues facing teachers and ensure they are properly supported.”

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