* But the figures can be misleading. In 2002, 43 per cent of teachers didn't take a single day off due to illness, which means the average annual absence rate for the rest was close to 10 days
* Plus, they work a shorter year than most, so the proportion of days lost is higher
* More than 40 per cent of days lost to sickness are for long-term sick leave - that is, more than 20 consecutive days off
* Stress-related illness is the fourth "official" reason for teachers being off sick. But headteachers reckon about half of all staff absences have stress as the root cause
* Teachers take more time off after they reach 45, but there's an upturn when they reach their late fifties. It's known as the "survivor effect"