More teachers employed and more teachers off sick

Thousands
more teachers are taking days off sick and they are taking longer to come back
to work, according to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

The
number who took sickness leave rose from 293,400 to 298,000 last year, although
their proportion of the total teacher population in England remained the same,
at 57 per cent, due to increased recruitment.

The
number of days sick teachers took off to recover rose to an average of 9.6 from
9.3 in 2002, but it was still less than the 2001 peak of 10 days.

Teachers
in the West Midlands were most likely to take sickness leave – 61 per cent –
followed by the Yorkshire, Humber, and London regions at 60 per cent.

Those
in the South East outside London were least likely to be off sick, with 49 per
cent taking an average of 8.5 days of sick leave.

In
terms of the length of time off, teachers in the North East were of most, at
11.1 days, while those in London took the least – eight days on average.

A
spokesperson for the DfES said the figures were virtually unchanged from 2002,
despite an increase of 4,000 teachers over the same period.

"CBI
research shows that national sickness absence averages for all employees stands
at 7.2 days meaning that teachers, with an average sickness absence of 5.4
days, are well below the national average and public sector," he said.

The
5.4 figure related to the average number of days taken off for all those
employed, as opposed to the higher average for those who took sickness leave.

By
Paul Yandall

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