North Lincolnshire schools lose almost 2,500 teaching days to stress
Nearly 2,500 teaching days were lost due to stress in North Lincolnshire's schools over the last academic year.
The figures, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show a 22 per cent increase in days lost to stress compared to the previous academic year.
There was also an increase in the number of days lost by head teachers due to stress – a rise from 19 in the 2010/11 academic year to 355 in the 2011/12 academic year.
Colin Saywell, head teacher at Baysgarth School in Barton- Upon-Humber, said: "In some respects this figure does not surprise me.
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"There is a perception that teachers finish at 3pm, but the reality is that they are in for many hours before and after school. The relentless response to change in the education sector can take its toll."
The figures also showed an eight per cent increase in the days lost due to teachers being off sick, which stood at around 6,300 for 2011/2012.
John Fitzgerald, head teacher of Winterton Community Academy, said: "Teaching is a demanding job, there is no doubt about that, and some of the demands put undue pressure on people.
"It is a target-driven industry where there is expectation from politicians that schools continually improve and get better. When schools do well, politicians seem to say that exams are too easy. Moving the goalposts like this can leave teachers feeling frustrated.
"Potentially, this frustration could lead to that stress."
Ken Rustige, National Union of Teachers executive member for North Lincolnshire, said: "There has been a tremendous amount of pressure on teachers in recent years. I feel that the present coalition government has made it far worse and believe that teachers have never been under the amount of pressure that there is now.
"In primary and secondary schools there is constant testing and pressure to perform, which can lead to the working hours becoming ridiculous.
"All teachers are very dedicated professionals and I do not think that North Lincolnshire is alone in this situation. It will be something that is being experienced across the board, and I feel these figures are just the tip of the iceberg."
The stresses of teaching are not just felt in secondary education though, with primary schools also noticing more pressure on staff.
Judith Moorhouse, head teacher at Holme Valley Primary School in Bottesford, said: "We work around a target driven culture in school and there are so many challenges that schools face. I feel that there is a perception that whatever schools do it is not good enough.
"I think that has to lead to stress, because you are being told constantly that what you're doing is not good enough."
A North Lincolnshire Council spokesman said: "Schools and academies are responsible for managing teacher and head teacher sickness absence in line with their published policies.
"The council is satisfied that the well-being of teachers across North Lincolnshire is positively promoted and is managed in a similar way to the rest of the country."