Big Smoke blues

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Is London the toughest place to teach? An analysis of sick leave suggests so. In nearly half the capital's boroughs, more than 80 per cent of teachers fell ill at least once in 1999. Generally, urban schools have the most sick leave.

The region with the best health record is the South-east. In Oxfordshire, less than 20 per cent of teachers took even one day off sick, the best figure in England.

Overall, two out of three full-time teachers in Englad took a day off ill in 1999. The average number of sick days was 9.5 per absent teacher, including non-teaching days.

Long-term sickness is a big factor: more than 40 per cent of the absences were accounted for by teachers off for more than 20 days. With so many teachers in the older age groups, perhaps it is unsurprising sickness rates are so high.

John Howson is managing director of Education Data Surveys. E-mail

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