Covid

Teacher sickness absence soars in wake of pandemic

More than 3.2 million working days were missed due to illness last year

More than 3.2 million working days were missed due to illness last year

The number of teachers’ working days missed because of sickness absence has soared by 56 per cent in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Department for Education school workforce census data released today shows more than 3.2 million working days were missed because of illness in the 2021-22 academic year, up from around 2 million in pre-pandemic 2018-19.

The figures echo those reported by Schools Week earlier this year based on data shared by management information provider Arbor, which showed school staff absences doubled in the autumn term when compared to 2019.

It follows warnings that higher levels of staff absence is exacerbating disruption to schools and teacher supply issues.

Overall, 67.5 per cent of teachers took sickness absence in the 2021-22 academic year, up from 54.1 per cent in 2018-19.

The average number of days taken by those who did take sick leave also increased, from 7.5 days in 2018-19 to 9.3 days in 2021-22.

Data was not collected in 2019-20 because of Covid, and was affected by the pandemic again in 2020-21.

The figures relate only to sickness absence and don’t include isolation or shielding due to Covid-19, or other reasons like maternity leave or career breaks.

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  1. And some might be ill, not just due to long-Covid / exposure when others were at home on Netflix and free Furlough money… but also due to working extra hours, weekends and holidays due to schools being understaffed and bills rising (so second jobs being required to pay them).