St Albans district teachers miss almost 20,000 days of school in five years

GCSE results explained. Photo: THINKSTOCK

GCSE results explained. Photo: THINKSTOCK - Credit: © Royalty-Free/CORBIS

Pupils in St Albans district and Radlett were without their normal teacher nearly 20,000 times over the past five years.

The figure came from a Freedom of Information request to Herts County Council, which revealed teachers had 19,037 absences due to sickness or for unauthorised reasons in the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

19,045 of these absences were for sickness, while nine were unauthorised.

Herts County Council’s cabinet member for education, libraries and localism Terry Douris said: “It would be completely incorrect to suggest the education of pupils at schools which have higher levels of teacher sickness is being affected.

“In some cases, a large number of recorded sick days could be for one member of staff who has been out of school for some time, such as due to ill health or serious illness.

“Hertfordshire County Council and its schools are committed to providing the best start in life for all of our children.

“Like all businesses, our schools have contingency plans in place for staff sickness and other absences.

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“The HR Services team at Herts for Learning also works closely with Hertfordshire schools to provide advice and support for a range of HR-related matters, including staff absences.

“The team is able to provide tailored guidance and support to help schools achieve positive attendance, and when needed effectively manage staff absences.”

The number of teacher absences in St Albans district and Radlett in 2016/17 has fallen by 30 per cent since 2012-13, from 4,526 to 3,146.7.

In 2013/14, there were 3492, including five unauthorised absences; in 2014/15, there were 3841.8; and in 2015/16, there were 3,968.

The school with the fewest over those five years was Maple School with 78. The figures do not include information for three schools as they are academies. These are Crabtree Infants School, Crabtree Junior School and Fair Field Junior School.

This comes after it was revealed there were more than 46,000 unauthorised absences by pupils over the same time period - of which Herts County Council only issued fines for 0.06 per cent.