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'SICK TEACHERS COST SCHOOLS£1M A DAY'

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Providing classroom cover for sick teachers is costing schools£1m a day, ...
Providing classroom cover for sick teachers is costing schools£1m a day,

new research by the Liberal Democrats revealed today.

New figures, based on the latest official sickness statistics, show that

schools could be spending up to£400m a year to cover sickness, the

equivalent to the salaries of 17,000 teachers or the cost of building 48

new schools.

Commenting, Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat shadow education secretary,

said: 'Our children need teachers that are fit and well and in the

classroom.

'Labour's policies are having a disastrous effect on our teachers' health

which in turn is undermining the education of our children.

'If the cost of cover continues to rise many schools may decide that they

can no longer afford cover. Children will end up in overcrowded classrooms

being taught by teachers covering subjects they are not qualified in.'

Notes

Table 1 of School Workforce in England: Provisional Teacher Sickness

Absence in 2003 and Teacher Ethnicity 2004, published last week and

available here, shows that in 2003 the total number of sickness days taken by

teachers was 2,853,500. An increase of 114,200 days on 2002 and 350,200 on

1999 (the earliest year for which figures are available on the DfES

website).

Figures supplied by the House of Commons library show that the average

cost of hiring a supply teacher to provide one day's cover is£120-145.

2,853,500 multiplied by£120 =£342.4m

2,853,500 multiplied by£145 =£413.8m

Therefore the annual cost to schools of providing cover for teacher

sickness could be as little as£342.4m, but as much as£413.8m.

£342.4m divided by 365 days =£938,082

£413.8m divided by 365 days =£1.13m

Therefore the daily cost to schools of providing cover for teacher

sickness could be as little as£938,082, but as much as£1.13m.

According to the DfES' guide on building costs the highest gross capital

cost for a building a school was£8.7m.

£413.8m divided by£8.7m = 47.6.

House of Commons library note SN/SG/1680 states that the average pay for a

primary school teacher is£23,300 and for a secondary school teacher is

£24,700.

The average teacher salary is therefore£24,000.£413.8m divided by£24,000

= 17,242 additional teachers.

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