Rise in number of teachers off work with stress

York Press: John Tomsett John Tomsett

THE number of teachers off work with stress in York and North Yorkshire has risen sharply in the past five years.

Figures released by City of York Council under the Freedom of Information Act show that in the academic year 2007/8 there were 45 teachers off work with stress, a figure which rose to 65 the following year and which reached 73 in the 2011/12 academic year.

Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire – including Ryedale and Selby – the number of teachers who have had time off work suffering from stress or stress-related illnesses was 247 in 2006/7, and had risen to 280 in 2011/12.

Teachers’ unions and head teachers put much of the problem down to increased workload due in the main to changes in the Ofsted inspection system in recent years.

The most recent changes came into effect from September 1 with no-notice inspections replaced by a new short-notice inspection which normally means schools get a phone call the afternoon before the inspectors arrive. That call could come at any time.

Barbara Reagan, division secretary for City of York National Union of Teachers, said: “The workload for teachers has got worse over the past few years because of the changes to Ofsted making it harder for schools to get the ‘good’ grading that they want.

“Head teachers are under a lot more stress as well as classroom teachers as a result and this is not just a problem in York and North Yorkshire, but across the country as a whole.

“These figures probably only paint half the picture as I suspect there will be under-reporting. Really, people who are off with stress are just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people go into work who are very stressed because if you are off work, your workload doesn’t go away.

“People think teachers have long holidays to compensate, but most work through their weekends and evenings and during some of the holidays.”

Andy Sutton, the York secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, said: “Pressure from Ofsted and the pressure of getting good exam results mean the number of hours teachers are working is increasing all the time and for many people the increased workload has a cumulative effect.

“Teachers want to improve standards in schools and you can’t do that if you are not able to go into school refreshed the next day because you are working excessively long hours.”

John Tomsett, head teacher at Huntington School in York, said: “I think head teachers are under more pressure than anyone and it’s our job to soak up pressure and make sure that a climate of fear doesn’t filter into schools. We are only going to be judged a good school if all 107 of my teachers feel motivated.”

Jill Hodges, assistant director for education and skills at City of York Council, said: “We take very seriously the issue of stress in the workplace and work with schools in York to tackle this issue proactively and as a preventative measure. We offer support to head teachers to manage individual cases and provide access to both the occupational health team and free counselling services.”

Comments (24)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:44am Mon 19 Nov 12

CHISSY1 says...

"The main excuse used to be a bad back,i wonder what will be next".
"The main excuse used to be a bad back,i wonder what will be next". CHISSY1

11:15am Mon 19 Nov 12

Even AndyD says...

They should go into journalism. Seems far easier. Just make a FOI request and spin a non-story out of it. Again! Ch-ching.
They should go into journalism. Seems far easier. Just make a FOI request and spin a non-story out of it. Again! Ch-ching. Even AndyD

11:30am Mon 19 Nov 12

beretta says...

John Tomsett's picture in the press again, twice in two weeks. Must be heading for politics
John Tomsett's picture in the press again, twice in two weeks. Must be heading for politics beretta

12:19pm Mon 19 Nov 12

yorkshirelad says...

As a parent I think this is a serious issue and I think it's clear that teachers are under a lot of pressure.

It seems that relentless change, admin/paperwork, denigration by government and a time-consuming inspection regime all add up.

I want teachers to be predominantly focused on doing the job they are trained to do and it does annoy me if external pressures detract from that.

We should respect teachers and support the work they do for our children often in difficult circumstances.

Apart from being a parent I have no connection to schools or schoolteachers.
As a parent I think this is a serious issue and I think it's clear that teachers are under a lot of pressure. It seems that relentless change, admin/paperwork, denigration by government and a time-consuming inspection regime all add up. I want teachers to be predominantly focused on doing the job they are trained to do and it does annoy me if external pressures detract from that. We should respect teachers and support the work they do for our children often in difficult circumstances. Apart from being a parent I have no connection to schools or schoolteachers. yorkshirelad

12:33pm Mon 19 Nov 12

roskoboskovic says...

when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.
when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system. roskoboskovic

12:44pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Even AndyD says...

roskoboskovic wrote:
when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.
I teach now after 20yrs in the private sector and a period of retraining. Comparing both sides, I'd say that whilst teachers work hard, it is no more difficult than out there in the 'commercial' world and the terms and conditions tend to be better. Just my take on it, others may think differently.

By and large everyone now has to work hard for their pay I would suggest.
[quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.[/p][/quote]I teach now after 20yrs in the private sector and a period of retraining. Comparing both sides, I'd say that whilst teachers work hard, it is no more difficult than out there in the 'commercial' world and the terms and conditions tend to be better. Just my take on it, others may think differently. By and large everyone now has to work hard for their pay I would suggest. Even AndyD

1:36pm Mon 19 Nov 12

bloodaxe says...

roskoboskovic wrote:
when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.
Well clearly teachers didn't do much for your punctuation skills. When you were at school "most teachers" were in teaching because they wanted to do it. Now they do it only for the money, resulting in a fall in standards. So your remedy would be to cut salaries presumably. "Anyone with a degree". Would you rather that they didn't have degrees ? Of course anyone with a degree can consider teaching and why shouldn't they ? The reason teachers are under so much stress is that they are under a constant barrage of ill-informed criticism (including from the government) using wrong statistics and predicated on a political agenda. With the sort of Daily Mail carping exemplified by some people on these posts it's amazing that there are any teachers at all. Don't take this personally.
[quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.[/p][/quote]Well clearly teachers didn't do much for your punctuation skills. When you were at school "most teachers" were in teaching because they wanted to do it. Now they do it only for the money, resulting in a fall in standards. So your remedy would be to cut salaries presumably. "Anyone with a degree". Would you rather that they didn't have degrees ? Of course anyone with a degree can consider teaching and why shouldn't they ? The reason teachers are under so much stress is that they are under a constant barrage of ill-informed criticism (including from the government) using wrong statistics and predicated on a political agenda. With the sort of Daily Mail carping exemplified by some people on these posts it's amazing that there are any teachers at all. Don't take this personally. bloodaxe

1:42pm Mon 19 Nov 12

bloodaxe says...

I's say that, in my experience, the main difference would be a level of commitment. It's called vocation and has little to do with salaries. What has changed in the last few years is that capitalism has bottled and sent the economy into a spiral of decline. Teaching thus seems to be a very attractive option. It isn't teaching that has changed but the wider financial environment.
I's say that, in my experience, the main difference would be a level of commitment. It's called vocation and has little to do with salaries. What has changed in the last few years is that capitalism has bottled and sent the economy into a spiral of decline. Teaching thus seems to be a very attractive option. It isn't teaching that has changed but the wider financial environment. bloodaxe

1:49pm Mon 19 Nov 12

YorkPatrol says...

Don't worry, it will snow soon so you can all have some more time off – fill in the gaps with “teacher training days” and extended holiday periods then you won’t have to “work” much at all
Don't worry, it will snow soon so you can all have some more time off – fill in the gaps with “teacher training days” and extended holiday periods then you won’t have to “work” much at all YorkPatrol

1:52pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

It does suggest that a lot of teachers aren't really cut out for it. Lots of people work through their evening and weekends and have nothing like the holidays teachers do.
It does suggest that a lot of teachers aren't really cut out for it. Lots of people work through their evening and weekends and have nothing like the holidays teachers do. Ignatius Lumpopo

2:20pm Mon 19 Nov 12

bob the builder says...

Those who can't - teach as they say. Nice holidays, short working days, £40k a year plus as much sick leave as you can get in. If I had a meaningless degree I'd apply.
Those who can't - teach as they say. Nice holidays, short working days, £40k a year plus as much sick leave as you can get in. If I had a meaningless degree I'd apply. bob the builder

2:23pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Happy Chappie says...

I am in no way connected with schools or any teachers, just a retired lorry driver. who was brought up to say please and thank you, respect my elders which of course included my teacher/s and do as I was told. If not I was reprimanded in a strong, stern, firm but fair way. Probably didn't think so at the time but I knew that there was another dose to come if In didn't heed the first reprimand On reaching the age where I could make up my mind what was right and what was wrong most of what I was told and taught regarding respect was still in the foreground. Whether today's teachers are over worked, don't have enough, have too many holidays etc. I don't know. In fact in this instance I don't care. The vast majority of stress, I believe,is generated by a minority of the pupils who know that, even after being unruly, disrespectful etc if teacher says two words that might be classed as a reprimand teacher could quite easily find them selves being severely reprimanded. suspended or even out of work. Who do we blame for this. The blame lies squarely on the heads of the "DO-GOODERS" the scourge of this Country. They are one of the main reason why this Country is in the state that it is. May I just add that all children do not come into the category it is only the minority but enough to cause disruption and add to any stress. Even parents of these culprits are limited from administering any effective punishment if they want to, thanks to the DO-GOODERS and NIMBY's.
I am in no way connected with schools or any teachers, just a retired lorry driver. who was brought up to say please and thank you, respect my elders which of course included my teacher/s and do as I was told. If not I was reprimanded in a strong, stern, firm but fair way. Probably didn't think so at the time but I knew that there was another dose to come if In didn't heed the first reprimand On reaching the age where I could make up my mind what was right and what was wrong most of what I was told and taught regarding respect was still in the foreground. Whether today's teachers are over worked, don't have enough, have too many holidays etc. I don't know. In fact in this instance I don't care. The vast majority of stress, I believe,is generated by a minority of the pupils who know that, even after being unruly, disrespectful etc if teacher says two words that might be classed as a reprimand teacher could quite easily find them selves being severely reprimanded. suspended or even out of work. Who do we blame for this. The blame lies squarely on the heads of the "DO-GOODERS" the scourge of this Country. They are one of the main reason why this Country is in the state that it is. May I just add that all children do not come into the category it is only the minority but enough to cause disruption and add to any stress. Even parents of these culprits are limited from administering any effective punishment if they want to, thanks to the DO-GOODERS and NIMBY's. Happy Chappie

2:29pm Mon 19 Nov 12

tobefair says...

There is too much interference from government. What we need is say five years of no government, local and national. Then teacers can teach, nurses can nurse and builders can build without interference from dogma ridden politicians trying to change things that aren't broken in the first place. And think of all the money us tax payers would save not having to pay the blighters!
There is too much interference from government. What we need is say five years of no government, local and national. Then teacers can teach, nurses can nurse and builders can build without interference from dogma ridden politicians trying to change things that aren't broken in the first place. And think of all the money us tax payers would save not having to pay the blighters! tobefair

3:15pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Guy Fawkes says...

Teachers’ unions and head teachers put much of the problem down to increased workload due in the main to changes in the Ofsted inspection system in recent years.

The most recent changes came into effect from September 1 with no-notice inspections replaced by a new short-notice inspection which normally means schools get a phone call the afternoon before the inspectors arrive. That call could come at any time.


So in other words, head teachers and the unions are claiming that they cannot achieve the standards required by Ofsted, except for a short period of time and with lots of notice. The idea of pre-arranged inspections defeats the object of the exercise: the inspectors won't get to see how a school operates under normal circumstances, because there will have been a spit and polish offensive for weeks before their arrival.
[quote] Teachers’ unions and head teachers put much of the problem down to increased workload due in the main to changes in the Ofsted inspection system in recent years. The most recent changes came into effect from September 1 with no-notice inspections replaced by a new short-notice inspection which normally means schools get a phone call the afternoon before the inspectors arrive. That call could come at any time.[/quote] So in other words, head teachers and the unions are claiming that they cannot achieve the standards required by Ofsted, except for a short period of time and with lots of notice. The idea of pre-arranged inspections defeats the object of the exercise: the inspectors won't get to see how a school operates under normal circumstances, because there will have been a spit and polish offensive for weeks before their arrival. Guy Fawkes

3:36pm Mon 19 Nov 12

DEKKA says...

bob the builder wrote:
Those who can't - teach as they say. Nice holidays, short working days, £40k a year plus as much sick leave as you can get in. If I had a meaningless degree I'd apply.
Short working day? 3+ hours extra each evening, another 3+ hours every Saturday and Sunday resulting in a 60+ hour week at least. Teachers don't turn up at 9:00, teach and then go home at 15:30 you know.
[quote][p][bold]bob the builder[/bold] wrote: Those who can't - teach as they say. Nice holidays, short working days, £40k a year plus as much sick leave as you can get in. If I had a meaningless degree I'd apply.[/p][/quote]Short working day? 3+ hours extra each evening, another 3+ hours every Saturday and Sunday resulting in a 60+ hour week at least. Teachers don't turn up at 9:00, teach and then go home at 15:30 you know. DEKKA

6:10pm Mon 19 Nov 12

yorkshirelad says...

One look at the comments on here and it's easy to see what's changed. It's attitudes in society. I very much doubt that when I was at school many people would have poured out vitriol on teachers like that...and I suspect the teachers are working a lot harder now.

The relentless thuggish Sun/Mail style attacks clearly have some people believing them. For the section of society that believes all that stuff, perhaps you won't know what you've lost until it's gone.
One look at the comments on here and it's easy to see what's changed. It's attitudes in society. I very much doubt that when I was at school many people would have poured out vitriol on teachers like that...and I suspect the teachers are working a lot harder now. The relentless thuggish Sun/Mail style attacks clearly have some people believing them. For the section of society that believes all that stuff, perhaps you won't know what you've lost until it's gone. yorkshirelad

7:26pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Davy Crocket says...

Aggressive parents and pupils should be jailed and benefits removed ... that will help stress levels
Aggressive parents and pupils should be jailed and benefits removed ... that will help stress levels Davy Crocket

12:42am Tue 20 Nov 12

nearlyman says...

tobefair wrote:
There is too much interference from government. What we need is say five years of no government, local and national. Then teacers can teach, nurses can nurse and builders can build without interference from dogma ridden politicians trying to change things that aren't broken in the first place. And think of all the money us tax payers would save not having to pay the blighters!
to be fair tobefair, politics will never be removed from the equation. Such a vast sum of public money is spent on education and that fact alone demands scrutiny and value assessment.
If we believe the politicians, of whichever creed, then they want the outcome to be a first rate education for all. Who would not ? There are an awful lot of very capable and inspirational teachers out there......but equally, as in any sphere, there are others who just cannot cut it and have maybe chosen the wrong career.
[quote][p][bold]tobefair[/bold] wrote: There is too much interference from government. What we need is say five years of no government, local and national. Then teacers can teach, nurses can nurse and builders can build without interference from dogma ridden politicians trying to change things that aren't broken in the first place. And think of all the money us tax payers would save not having to pay the blighters![/p][/quote]to be fair tobefair, politics will never be removed from the equation. Such a vast sum of public money is spent on education and that fact alone demands scrutiny and value assessment. If we believe the politicians, of whichever creed, then they want the outcome to be a first rate education for all. Who would not ? There are an awful lot of very capable and inspirational teachers out there......but equally, as in any sphere, there are others who just cannot cut it and have maybe chosen the wrong career. nearlyman

7:34am Tue 20 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

roskoboskovic wrote:
when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.
What a load of rubbish.
[quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: when i was at school most teachers were doing it because they d always wanted to teach and saw it as something of a vocation.with wages of 30k plus it became attractive to anyone with a degree able to take a years course and become a teacher.a lot of these people shouldn t be teaching and this is partly to blame for the failings of our education system.[/p][/quote]What a load of rubbish. Sawday2

9:29am Tue 20 Nov 12

sounds weird but says...

Dont see why this is different to the commercial sector. Higher standards, scrutinisation by regulatory bodies, working weekends etc.

The difference I can see is that the private sector is less tolerant of being off sick long term, so you tend to find less sick days are taken. Funny that.
Dont see why this is different to the commercial sector. Higher standards, scrutinisation by regulatory bodies, working weekends etc. The difference I can see is that the private sector is less tolerant of being off sick long term, so you tend to find less sick days are taken. Funny that. sounds weird but

10:52am Tue 20 Nov 12

YorkPatrol says...

DEKKA wrote:
bob the builder wrote: Those who can't - teach as they say. Nice holidays, short working days, £40k a year plus as much sick leave as you can get in. If I had a meaningless degree I'd apply.
Short working day? 3+ hours extra each evening, another 3+ hours every Saturday and Sunday resulting in a 60+ hour week at least. Teachers don't turn up at 9:00, teach and then go home at 15:30 you know.
Don't kid yourself...

60+ hour week... I bet!
[quote][p][bold]DEKKA[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bob the builder[/bold] wrote: Those who can't - teach as they say. Nice holidays, short working days, £40k a year plus as much sick leave as you can get in. If I had a meaningless degree I'd apply.[/p][/quote]Short working day? 3+ hours extra each evening, another 3+ hours every Saturday and Sunday resulting in a 60+ hour week at least. Teachers don't turn up at 9:00, teach and then go home at 15:30 you know.[/p][/quote]Don't kid yourself... 60+ hour week... I bet! YorkPatrol

9:14pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Stevie D says...

Guy Fawkes wrote:
So in other words, head teachers and the unions are claiming that they cannot achieve the standards required by Ofsted, except for a short period of time and with lots of notice.

Given that the Govemonster wants all schools to be above average, and that Ofsted have said that not only is it now harder to get 'good' than it was last year (and that was harder than it was in 2009, and that was harder than it was in 2007, and that was harder than it was in 2005) and that what used to be known as 'satisfactory' is no longer satisfactory ... I'm not at all surprised that some schools are finding it impossible to meet these standards day-in day-out.

A school that got 'outstanding' in 2005/06 would, if it had maintained exactly the same standards, be lucky to scrape through as 'good' today. I'm not saying that in itself is a bad thing – we can't afford to be complacent and we do need to challenge schools to make sure they are doing the best they can – but we also have to remember the human cost to pushing an entire profession too hard, and that is that a lot of teachers are struggling to keep going, and a lot of schools are struggling to get headteachers.
[quote][bold]Guy Fawkes[/bold] wrote: So in other words, head teachers and the unions are claiming that they cannot achieve the standards required by Ofsted, except for a short period of time and with lots of notice.[/quote] Given that the Govemonster wants all schools to be above average, and that Ofsted have said that not only is it now harder to get 'good' than it was last year (and that was harder than it was in 2009, and that was harder than it was in 2007, and that was harder than it was in 2005) [bold]and[/bold] that what used to be known as 'satisfactory' is no longer satisfactory ... I'm not at all surprised that some schools are finding it impossible to meet these standards day-in day-out. A school that got 'outstanding' in 2005/06 would, if it had maintained exactly the same standards, be lucky to scrape through as 'good' today. I'm not saying that in itself is a bad thing – we can't afford to be complacent and we do need to challenge schools to make sure they are doing the best they can – but we also have to remember the human cost to pushing an entire profession too hard, and that is that a lot of teachers are struggling to keep going, and a lot of schools are struggling to get headteachers. Stevie D

8:37am Wed 21 Nov 12

nearlyman says...

Its called aspiration. Never stand still. Once you do, the battle is lost.
Its called aspiration. Never stand still. Once you do, the battle is lost. nearlyman

9:45am Wed 21 Nov 12

sounds weird but says...

nearlyman wrote:
Its called aspiration. Never stand still. Once you do, the battle is lost.
Exactly. Again this is the case commercially - always raising 'the bar'.
[quote][p][bold]nearlyman[/bold] wrote: Its called aspiration. Never stand still. Once you do, the battle is lost.[/p][/quote]Exactly. Again this is the case commercially - always raising 'the bar'. sounds weird but

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree