‘Less than 1% of teaching days lost to stress in Scotland’s schools’: Scotsman has a go at dreaming up another crisis in Scottish schools


(c) Huffpost

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:

Herald’s statistics fail to create believable crisis in Scottish teacher supply

Student (mature) journalist Andrew Denholm’s undergraduate ‘research’ on Scottish teacher vacancies fails to discover…..anything much

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’



5 thoughts on “‘Less than 1% of teaching days lost to stress in Scotland’s schools’: Scotsman has a go at dreaming up another crisis in Scottish schools

  1. Legerwood October 14, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    It seems the online Herald is joining the party – article about trainee teachers quitting in the first year has doubled in 4 years. The first few lines of the article gives you the flavour of it:

    “”THE number of trainee teachers quitting after only a year in the post has doubled in four years.
    Statistics show nearly 300 probationers have dropped out within a year of starting since 2014.””

    The Herald on Sunday also has a letter from parents at an East Lothian school complaining about lack of classroom support for teachers. They quote the numbers of qualified teachers leaving the profession something which I think you covered recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bigjon999 October 14, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    Arithmetic obviously isn’t the Scotsman journalists’ strongest subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Legerwood October 14, 2018 / 10:20 pm

    They are really going all out this weekend attacking education. Now the Herald online has an article ‘Parents attack ‘diluted’ school inspections’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. johnrobertson834 October 15, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Wish I’d had one of those. Was inspected by a Mr Giovanacci, pronounced GiovaNazi(!), in 19canteen.


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