Teacher Stress

 

Under-pressure Tayside schools lost almost two decades of staff time to mental health issues in the last year, according to new figures.

Dundee teachers racked up 3,615 days in stress-related sickness absence in the 12 months to January this year, up from 3,388 in 2017.

And Angus educators called in for 3,602 days in 2017/18, up from 2,829 two years previously.

The information, obtained under freedom of information request, follows a January survey showing that more than 75% of Scottish teachers frequently feel stressed because of their workload.

Angus MP Kirstene Hair said the level of stress and mental health concern is higher “across the board” as Scottish local authorities have their budgets cut by Holyrood.

She further pointed out the SNP’s presumption towards “mainstreaming” of all pupils contributes to “challenging environments” for learning and teaching.

Scottish Conservative Ms Hair said:

“Many of the constituents I have spoken to are concerned by the amount of extra pressure placed on teachers by this presumption.

“While it’s correct most children should be taught together, schools don’t have the resources to teach a minority of pupils in the classroom.

“They need more classrooms assistants to do that, and more specialised teachers.

“I strongly believe teachers want their pupils to have the best education possible.

“And at a time when the Scottish Government is unable to agree a fairer pay deal for the profession, I can see why so many are feeling the strain.”

In the EIS teaching union's survey last month, 60 per cent of teachers said that during the course of a typical week their workload left them feeling stressed regularly, while a further 16.5 per cent said they were stressed "all the time".

A common theme for a number of the contributors was the challenge of teaching children with additional support needs (ASN) in mainstream classes.

The Scottish Government has made it a key ambition for as many ASN children as possible to be taught in a mainstream ­environment, but teachers have complained of a lack of support staff.