An alarming number of teachers have been forced to go on long-term stress leave in the North West.
According to research conducted by the Liberal Democrats, 573 educators in the region have taken time away from their jobs for reasons related to their mental health in the past year.
A high proportion of this unsettling figure is made up of cases from Greater Manchester – with 71 of the teachers coming from Oldham alone.
The findings – discovered through an FOI – also revealed that 31 teachers from Bury, 39 from Stockport, 29 from Trafford, 55 from Bolton and 29 from Salford were also absent for one month or more as a result of stress.
The total figure of mental health-related sickness is up 8% on the previous year.
All in all, over 230,000 days have been taken off by teachers for stress and mental wellbeing reasons over the past four years in the North West
Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, said the stats exemplified just how teachers are being put under ‘impossible pressure’.
She commented: “It is simply unacceptable that those working tirelessly to do the best for our children are seeing their mental ill-health affected as a result.
“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.
She went on to say that the figures should be a ‘wake-up call’ for the government and new Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
The Oxford West and Abingdon MP added: “Stress and anxiety are fuelling the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, but the government’s current approach is making matters worse.
“We need fundamental reform of assessments and inspections in our schools, which are two of the greatest sources of anxiety for teachers.
“It is completely wrong that teachers are made to feel that they will be judged a success or a failure based on a single bad inspection or a class that doesn’t perform as well as expected.
“The Government must also end the real-term cuts to pay for teachers that are leaving them feeling overworked and undervalued.”