found that 35 per cent of work absences related to "mild to moderate mental health disorders". Too many teachers are drowning in work and the related stress it creates.
So what is at the root of the problem? First, our punitive accountability system and the Ofsted behemoth. The corrosive effect of worrying about a poor inspection drives schools into the bureaucratic meltdown of bloated lesson plans, excessive marking policies, "mocksteds" and worse, all of which are driving teachers towards burnout.
This is compounded by a culture of managerialism. By this I mean target-obsessed management systems that insist on substantial data from teachers every few weeks at the expense of actual teaching. The issue is exacerbated by performance-related pay policies that demand reams of paperwork.
Is there a solution to these issues? Policy changes could certainly help, but schools and teachers can employ plenty of simple approaches, too.
Create a teacher workload policy
One simple solution is for the senior leadership team to reflect on the impact of every decision. Does the effort undertaken have a proportionate effect on student outcomes? What is being dropped to make way for the new initiative?
Leadership decisions should focus on the Pareto principle, which says that 80 per cent of our impact is derived from 20 per cent of our actions. We should zero in on the 20 per cent and remove any work that proves a distraction.
Devise high-impact marking and planning policies
Feedback and good planning are essential for effective teaching but we should still reduce the time we give to these elements as long as it doesn't damage their positive impact. A good marking policy ensures that teachers don't mark everything. It should stress the value of effective strategies, like peer- and self-assessment, that can reduce workload and improve learning. The same pragmatic and flexible approach should apply to lesson planning.
One of the main reasons why teachers are so overloaded is because they often work in isolation. It is essential that schools ensure their teachers can take part in collaborative planning and put training into practice.
Adopt intelligent accountability
Avoid the stress created by a culture of perpetual fear. If Ofsted is jettisoning lesson observation gradings, then so should we. If Ofsted is slimming down the inspection process for successful schools, then we should do the same for successful departments. Intelligent accountability avoids excess.
Create a well-being group
The best chance our students have of success is through the regular attendance of a healthy and happy teacher. A group of teachers and school leaders committed to creating a school fuelled by kindness and care can mitigate the stresses that attend the job.
Projects could involve improving communal spaces, eating together on training days, supporting family days and so on. Great schools thrive on trust and fellowship.
Start the day as you mean to go on
There is plenty of evidence to show that our minds are sharpest at the start of the working day, so plan how you will use your time during a golden 10-minute morning slot. Try the Post-it test - if your to-do list won't fit on a Post-it note, then it probably won't fit into your day. Reduce your stress by reducing your day to a little coloured square.
End the tyranny of email
You turn up to school bright and ready but an avalanche of emails quickly sours your mood. Sound familiar? Only a fraction of the emails you receive are important. Set aside a small pocket of time every morning to manage them and be ruthless about sticking to this slot. Yes, we are addicted to the espresso shots of interest offered by emails but they can distract us from essential tasks.
Prevent work creeping into your evening by answering emails at home in allotted time slots, too. Otherwise, what feels like efficiency can, perversely, create more work. If you answer emails whenever they arrive, one thing is certain: you can expect more of them.
Influence your meetings
Managerialism often shows itself in meetings. How often have you sat through bloated gatherings with little purpose and lots of wasted time? Make a difference. Ask for an agenda in advance. Expect the meeting to finish when it is supposed to. Ask for reading beforehand that will reduce meeting time. In short, manage upwards and don't accept your time being wasted.
Take a proper lunch break
Another part of work creep is the shrinking of the lunch break. What was once a lunch hour has been whittled away to nothing in many cases. The problem is that when we haven't eaten we are less effective and more likely to make poor decisions than those who have had a break and some healthy food. There is a sound link between blood sugar levels, willpower and general effectiveness. Start eating, resting and becoming more effective in managing your workload.
Sleep and be merry
A tired teacher produces diminishing returns. Sleep is like a service for your brain, providing a vital nightly clean. Fend off the temptation to do everything. Instead, admit your limitations, arrest your perfectionism and get some sleep. And spend time with your friends and family. Plan your recreation time with the same fervour as your lessons. When it comes to your health - both physical and mental - these activities are just as important.
Alex Quigley is director of learning and research at Huntington School in York
Use this Teachers TV guide to find data-backed methods for managing stress.
See what an expert panel says about approaching an unworkable workload.