A pilot project across five schools in York has reduced absence rates among teachers from 10.5 days to 8.9 days per employee.
Mandy Coalter, HR manager at York City Council education services, told delegates at the CIPD's annual conference in October that the council had set up a project called Well, covering 200 employees.
Using stress consultants Business Health, a questionnaire based on location and job role found staff suffered with stress and low confidence and that 10 per cent were at risk.
Personal stress profiles based on an assessment of mental and physical health were drawn up, with those at the higher end of the stress scale receiving extra support such as counselling. Staff had access to an onsite health manager.
The project identified the main causes of stress and drew up of an annual calendar of workload 'hotspots' so that peak times could be planned for. The marking policy was also changed to better stagger workload, and an extra teacher was employed.
Health managers were sent into the schools and a one-to-one mentoring and counselling network was set up. Managers and teachers were encouraged to delegate more and given training in how to deal with pressure.
"We adopted a holistic approach by avoiding the stigma of 'stress' and recognising the close relationship between physical and mental health. If you are stressed it will affect your health, your performance and the performance of the team and organisation," she said.