Teachers in Bexley take highest ratings of long-term stress leave in London
PUBLISHED: 12:46 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 16 January 2018
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Bexley borough has one of the highest rates of teachers taking long-term stress leave in London, according to research by the Liberal Democrats.
Findings also revealed that at least 214 teachers in the capital have gone on long-term stress leave in the past year.
The figures are based on responses to Freedom of Information requests by the Liberal Democrats from 10 London boroughs, meaning the real figure is likely to be substantially higher.
The Liberal Democrats said the figures “laid bare the impossible pressures teachers are under” and warned that stress caused by an obsession with exam results is fueling the teacher recruitment crisis.
46,000 days have been taken off by teachers for stress and mental health reasons in London in the last four years, including over 12,620 in 2016/17.
Bexley had the highest number of teachers of long-term stress leave, with 73 taking leave of one month or more since 2016.
Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, commented: “I’ve heard story after story of teachers experiencing ‘burn out’ due to factors including work-load or mishandled Ofsted inspections. But these are no longer just the rare or most extreme cases - they are increasingly common.
“This must be wake-up call to the new Education Secretary Damian Hinds.”
Ms Moran also added that the government’s current approach to the teachers recruitment and retention crisis is “making maters worse” and that a fundamental reform of assessments and inspections in schools, which are two of the greatest sources of anxiety for teachers, is needed.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Teachers have been bombarded with constant changes to the curriculum and assessment regimes.
“It has been a relentless policy onslaught which has left teachers rocking from stress and exhaustion.”
Dr Bousted said that teachers work more unpaid overtime than any other profession.
She added: “It is however not just the amount of work but the pressures of a punitive and non-productive accountability system that is consuming teachers’ time, and has led to children in England being some of the most over-assessed in the modern world.”