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Teachers: Absenteeism and Sick Leave

Question for Department for Education

UIN 134058, tabled on 6 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the data his Department holds on the rates of (a) sick leave and (b) absence of (i) primary and (ii) secondary school teachers from the workplace for the periods from (A) 1 September 2018 to 4 January 2019, (B) 1 September 2019 to 4 January 2020 and (C) 1 September 2020 to 4 January 2021.

Answered on

11 January 2021

The information requested is not available in the format requested.

For the 2018/19 academic year, the Department collects information on teacher sickness absence from all state funded schools via the School Workforce Census, held in November each year since 2010. Each census collects data for absence from the previous academic year. The latest data available cover the academic year September 2018 to August 2019.

Information on the number and rates of teacher sickness absence are published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at the following link:

The table below shows teacher sickness absence data during the 2018/19 academic year in state funded schools in England:

Teacher sickness absence data[1][2]


Average number of Days - all teachers


Average number of days taken


Percentage taking absence


Total Number of Days lost


Total teachers taking absence


For the 2019/20 academic year, to reduce burdens on schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, the return of absence data for the 2019/20 academic year was not required in the ongoing 2020 School Workforce Census. Schools will not be asked to submit 2020 census absence data retrospectively in future censuses.

For the 2020/21 academic year, the Department intends to publish detailed school workforce absence data?from 19 January 2021. This data will be included as part of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-?19) outbreak’.? The data shall be drawn from the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the government monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on schools, nurseries and colleges, focus support more effectively and keep children safe.

The Department plans to return to collecting information on teacher sickness absence in the 2020/21 academic year from all state funded schools via the School Workforce Census, held in November 2021. This data shall be released, as per the usual timings, in the summer of 2022.

[1] The total teachers taking sickness absence and total days taken are estimates based on the schools that were able to make a full absence return. They are only available for England as a whole and not by region, local authority or school. For further details please see the methodology document.

[2] Before using this data, please check the methodology section for important information such as definitions, limitations and caveats. This is available here:

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