Scottish school staff lose 550,000 working days due to mental health

550,000 working days lost to mental health in Scotland since 2017

Approximately 550,00 school staff days in Scotland have been lost due to mental health reasons since April 2017, according to analysis from political party Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The statistics, accumulated from 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, found that the number of staff days lost has risen from 139,979 in 2017-18, to 181,191 in 2019-20 when the last full year of data points was analysed.

Further findings revealed that Glasgow had the largest number of working days lost in 2019-20, standing at 20,821, followed by Highland at 17,667 and Edinburgh with 13,464 working days lost for the calendar year.

Beatrice Wishart, member of the Scottish Parliament, said: “These figures show that since 2017-18, 550,000 staff days have been lost for mental health reasons. That is 1,503 years’ worth.

“The pressures caused by the Scottish National Parties’ (SNP) top-down approach to education and the loss of valuable classroom support have been obvious for some time. It is no surprise that both teacher morale and Scotland’s performance in international educational surveys are headed in the wrong direction. All of this was taking its toll long before the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic came over the horizon.

“Since then, teachers have been thrust into the frontline, dealing with conditions that no other group has been asked to tolerate. It will be no surprise if absences this year are even higher.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to call for a better pay deal for teachers, backed by an independent review of their conditions and the demands placed upon them and a new package of measures to make teaching the valued and rewarding profession that it should be.”