Teacher sickness: Worst affected schools in West Northamptonshire as absence levels rise across England

A union has said that the figures “reflect the reality that teachers are increasingly suffering stress, overwork and burnout.”

There has been a sharp rise in sick days taken by teachers in the East Midlands, with new figures showing the worst-affected schools in West Northamptonshire.

The figures, revealed by the Department of Education, rank West Northamptonshire as the joint fourth highest for the average number of sickness absence days in the East Midlands region, out of ten local authorities. North Northamptonshire is ranked as number two, behind Derbyshire.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT (the Teacher’s Union), said that the increase in both the proportion of teachers taking sick leave and the number of days taken “reflects the reality that teachers are increasingly suffering stress, overwork and burnout”.

Dr Roach continued: “The government has expected teachers simply to soldier on throughout the pandemic and now the cost of living crisis whilst more children are presenting with acute learning and support needs.

“The job of teaching is becoming impossible for teachers who are also finding themselves taking on the roles of counsellor, social worker and therapist to fill gaps left by cuts to children’s services.”

He said the figures were likely the “tip of the iceberg” as staffing pressures meant many teachers felt they had little choice but to come to work even when unwell.

In the East Midlands, teachers took an average of 6.6 days off sick in the last academic year, up from 4.5 days in 2016/17. In West Northamptonshire a total of 27,554 working days were lost across the year, with 73.4% of teachers taking sickness absence that year.

These are the schools worst affected by teacher sickness in West Northamptonshire in the 2021/2022 academic year: