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Half of school staff 'stressed about redundancies'

More than a quarter of schools have experienced redundancies in the past year, new survey shows

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Almost half of school staff say that they are stressed about redundancies in education, with a similar proportion saying that they have considered an alternative career for this reason.

A survey of people working in schools reveals that other persistent worries include covering for long-term sickness and short-term absences.

Forty-six per cent of school staff questioned said that they were stressed about school-based redundancies. And 42 per cent said that they had considered or were considering changing career because of redundancies.

Fear of redundancies

More than a quarter – 27 per cent – of the schools included in the survey had suffered redundancies over the past year. And almost one in 10 – 9 per cent – had lost four or more members of staff in the past 12 months. One in 20 – 5 per cent – had made at least six members of staff redundant over the previous year.

Nearly half of the staff surveyed expected to have to deal with an increase in redundancies over the next two or three years.

They said that, as a result, they were spending their free time worrying about the situation at work. Some said that it was also affecting their friendships.

But redundancies were not their only concern. Three in five – 59 per cent – said that they had had to deal with long-term sickness at school during the past 12 months. And 58 per cent had dealt with repetitive short-term absences during the same period.

'Financial pressure'

This was also a cause of stress for large numbers of those surveyed. Two-fifths – 41 per cent – said that they felt stressed about dealing with long-term sickness, and almost half – 47 per cent – found coping with short-term absences stressful.

The survey of 500 members of school staff was carried out by OnePoll last month and commissioned by Cheshire law firm SAS Daniels. Stephen Foster, representing the law firm, said: “These days, many schools have to operate almost as businesses, and financial pressure can lead to an increase in HR issues.”

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