After two failures by the Herald now Scotsman has a go at dreaming up another crisis in Scottish schools
We’ve seen dramatic reports of 1.2% of teachers under 40 leaving the profession, and 1.3% of posts unfilled, presented as crises in the Herald, recently. See these for detail:
Now, the Scotsman, with Scottish Labour having relieved the LibDems on Freedom of Information request duty, takes the strain today with:
‘The number of days taken off work by teachers due to stress has increased over the past three years, leading to more claims of a staffing crisis in Scotland’s classrooms. According to data uncovered by Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, a total of 237,294 work days were [sic] lost between 2015/16 and 2017/18 as a result of stress. In 2015/16, a total of 77,779 days were [sic] lost to stress – a figure that rose to 79,001 in 2016/17 and to 80,513 in 2017/18. Overall there was a 3.5 per cent rise in days lost over the three-year period.’
I do like a wee grammatical error or better still the same one twice, especially from an education correspondent. ‘A total was’ not ‘a total were’ Thomas!
I also like to see sneaky wee cheats with statistics which I can easily deflate. Thomas has looked at the increase in the last year, found to his disappointment that it was only 1.9% and remembered vaguely, from a class, that wee percentages like that are usually not significant. Then he thought ‘cleverly’ of recalculating over the 2/3-year period to get a bigger number. Now here’s a thing, why didn’t he calculate over a ten-year period and get a nice big headline figure? Had the figures been, unhelpfully, falling in that earlier period of SNP government?
Now then, 80 513 days you say? Seems a lot. Thoosands and thoosands even? Did Thomas, I wonder, think of finding out what 80 513 is as a percentage of the total days worked by all teachers in Scotland in the same year? He did but it was another useless titchy number which was frankly not of interest to his few readers. Let’s find out. It’ll be fun!
Scottish teachers are contracted to work 195 days per year.
There are 51 513 teacher FTEs in Scotland https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/12/3099/348574
They are, therefore, contracted to work 10 045 035 days, in total. More than ten million! You can see where this is going Thomas, and it’s not good, is it? It’s 0.8% and here’s the headline:
‘Less than 1% of teaching days lost to stress in Scotland’s schools’