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Thousands of days lost in Dundee schools due to teacher ill-health, figures reveal

Thousands of days have been lost in Dundee schools due to teacher ill health
Thousands of days have been lost in Dundee schools due to teacher ill health

An average of more than 10,000 days have been lost in Dundee schools each year since 2015 because of teacher ill-health, figures have revealed.

A freedom of information request (FOI) has shown that in the past five years, there has been an average of 10,267 days lost each year because of teachers being off due to ill-health.

This is the equivalent of each full-time teacher employed by Dundee City Council (DCC) being off for seven days every year between 2015 and 2019.

This average peaked in 2017, with the figures showing that there were 7.7 days off per full time teacher recorded.

An average of 958 teachers across Dundee were off at at least once each year during this five year period.

The biggest number of days lost because of teacher absences came in 2016, when it was 11,237. This was an increase of 15% on the previous year.

The number of absences then fell slightly to 11,231 in 2017 and 9,206 in 2018 before increasing again the following year to 10,115.

The total number of days lost due to teacher absences between 2015 and 2019 is more than 51,00o according to the FOI figures.

Teacher numbers

The figures also revealed that between 2015 and 2019, there was no overall increase in the number of full time teachers employed by Dundee City Council.

There was a rise in the teacher numbers between 2015 and 2016 when there was an increase of 2.56% – the equivalent of 37 teachers.

However, the number of full time equivalent teachers employed by DCC has fallen each year since 2o16, decreasing from a high of 1,479 in 2016 to 1,443 last year – a fall 0f two percent.

The figures showed that the average number of full time teachers in Dundee during the period between 2015 and 2019 was 1,457.

Support is available

In a statement, Dundee City Council highlighted the measures that are in place to help those who may be suffering from ill health and have to take time off.

They also indicated these procedures had been been “strengthened” as schools return full time amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “The council regularly monitors and reports absence information to senior managers and all trade unions on a monthly basis.

“We have an agreed health and wellbeing framework which has been developed with the trade unions which forms part of the council’s ‘Our People Strategy’ with our approach to this strengthened further over this year.

“Our occupational health provider is assisting with a greater emphasis on early intervention supports for staff.

“There are many different reasons for the causes of absence. We work with people to help them with their own individual situation and offer assistance to them.”

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