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Proportion who go off sick rises

TEACHER sickness rates have risen for the second year running, but they still take less sick leave than most public-sector workers.

The proportion of state-school teachers who took time off sick increased by 2 percentage points to 57 per cent, equivalent to an estimated 293,200, said the Department for Education and Skills.

However, they took marginally less time off, at 5.3 days per teacher, down from 5.4 in 2001.

The DfES said that the figure compared well with other local government workers and the police. The total number of teacher days lost due to sickness fell from 2.78 million to 2.74m in England last year.

According to Confederation of British Industry figures, employees took an average of 6.8 days off sick last year, while police officers typically took 11.5 days and local government workers 10.7.

A DfES spokesman said it was not surprising numbers of the workforce off sick had risen last year, as schools had 4,000 more teachers than in 2001.

Four out of 10 part-time teachers also took sick leave last year.

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