A Dundee councillor has insisted school staff must be given the best possible support during the coronavirus lockdown.
Stewart Hunter, the local authority’s education spokesman, made the pledge after stats showed more than 100 teachers and teaching assistants in the city took time off with stress last year alone.
Councillor Hunter, who is convener of the city council’s children and families committee, said it is important teachers are given the help they need during this “stressful time” as they teach their classes from home.
Working life will be tested further in the coming months, with the UK still taking precautions against the spread of the virus.
The latest strain on teachers comes after figures revealed that every school in Dundee has had a member of staff signed off with stress in the last five years.
All schools in Dundee have been closed since March 20 following the Covid-19 outbreak, with teachers forced to carry lessons in new, innovative ways.
Hundreds of teachers and non-teaching staff in the city’s schools have had to take time off work because they are too stressed.
Now, with the coronavirus lockdown bringing fresh challenges, Mr Hunter insists school staff must be given support.
He said: “The main thing for us is to make sure we can support these teachers.
“There will be myriad reasons for stress, some of it work-related and other times not, so we need to work with members of staff to find out what’s contributing to their stress and what we can do for each individual.
“We also recognise this is a difficult time for staff and they are doing an amazing job supporting our young people at such as stressful time.
“It is therefore also important we give the appropriate support through these weeks and months and I would encourage all members of staff to make sure head teachers are aware and can get the support they need.”
A Freedom of Information request has shown last year alone, 53 primary school teachers and 54 secondary school teachers were forced to take time off work because of stress.
In 2018 there were 124 teachers across primary and secondary schools off with stress, 92 in 2017, 104 in 2016 and 87 in 2015.
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “We value the dedication of our teachers.
“They are displaying real commitment at this time of national crisis and are assisting the learning and teaching of pupils away from the classroom.
“We have seen many of them volunteering to take on roles at our community support centres over the Easter holidays, where we are providing facilities for the children of key workers as well as some of the most vulnerable children in our city.
“In terms of absence management under normal circumstances, the council has well-established procedures in our health and wellbeing framework, and we also provide early intervention support.
“There are many different reasons for the causes of stress and absence which are not all work related.
“We work with people to help them with their own individual situation and offer assistance to them.”
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