Council finds illness peaks at end of term

19th May 2000 at 01:00
TEACHER absence more than doubles at the end of each term, according to one London council, writes Julie Henry.

Research by Newham last year found that average sickness levels of about 6 per cent rose to 17 per cent in June and 14 per cent in December and March.

Graham Lane, education chair of the Local Government Association, claimed a similar pattern was emerging within other authorities. He said: "While teachers are better attenders than other local government employees, it is worth examining the reasons why there is an end-of-term increase. It could wellbe down to the accumulation of stress over the term, particularly when the term is long.

"The uneven term pattern needs to be looked at, as well as tackling absenteeism at a school and individual level."

An LGA commission into the pattern of the school year heard evidence from heads' associations and teachers' unions last week. On Monday representatives from the tourism industry and LEAs will put their case. The commission is expected to report back at the end of July. Newham's plans to introduce a five-term year have been put on hold until then.

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