5 teachers absent every day…

Teachers Leave

In the first three weeks of the new term, on average, five teachers have been absent every day.

That’s five out of 16 teachers, or 33% of our staff.

Some were taking masters exams, some were attending weddings (it’s the wedding season), one was on a foreign trip and some gave no good reason for their absence, but simply imformed me at the end of school that they would be absent tomorrow. One told me she would be absent for a week – 12 days later she is still not back and her phone is switched off.

But here’s the worst of it. The teachers are not simply bunking – all of this leave is government sanctioned. Every government teachers is allowed 12 days casual leave and 12 days sick leave a year. Of course you don’t have to be sick to take the latter, so in reality they have 24 days leave. This is in addition to school holidays and endless closures for public holidays.

It’s very difficult to manage school when a good portion of your staff can – legally – just up and go on leave when they want.
Of course, there are ways to manage this, such as requiring staff to give notice, and limiting the number of staff that can take leave at the same time, but this is a culture shift that takes time.
The only silver lining to this cloud, is that we’ve managed to find substitutte teachers to cover almost all the lessons where a teacher has been absent… and in three weeks that amounted to over 400 lessons!

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