'Draconian paper chase' to track down absent teachers

13th June 1997 at 01:00
Glasgow teachers will have their sickness absences monitored by the city's education committee. The plans have been condemned by the unions as a "draconian paper chase".

Gill Mackay, a teacher representative on the committee, said that the Educational Institute of Scotland and other unions were drafting advice to members. "This is not a policy agreed on their behalf and we have qualms about it. It adds to stress, is unworkable and unsuited to teachers' employment contracts."

Management records will be maintained for all council staff. In schools the head may meet a teacher to determine the reasons for an absence, offer help if appropriate and assess any action required before signing the illness self-certificate. Such an interview would take place when the reason for absence appeared unclear or unacceptable.

George Gardner, the city's depute director of education, said that teacher absences last year were between 3 per cent and 4 per cent, but that had risen to 5.5 per cent. "Of that, 2 per cent results from self-certification and 3.4 per cent for medical absences."

Malcolm Green, chair of the education committee, said there was no argument for teachers to be treated differently from other council employees.

The new policy was accepted by 16 votes to four.

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