WHEN she launched new occupational health guidance for teachers, Estelle Morris stated that "absence rates (of teachers) can be influenced by the quality of management practice".
If the minister means that ill teachers can be "persuaded" back to work, she is wrong. If, however, she means that "management" could reduce some of the workplace causes of ill health, she is right, and the Government must take the lead.
Many of the illnesses that teachers suffer from are stress-relate. The source of much of this stress is the Government and its never-ending barrage of schemes - performance-related pay, inspection regimes, literacy hour, numeracy hour, curriculum changes . . .
Teachers are punch-drunk from too many changes introduced too quickly and must have time to consolidate if these initiatives are to succeed.
Senior professional officer
Professional Association of Teachers
2 St James' Court
Friar Gate, Derby