The SNP has been slammed for “devastating mismanagement” after it was revealed that Scottish teaching staff have taken more than one million days off for mental health reasons and stress in the last five years.
New data, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, shows that a total of 1,061,210 days were lost due to poor mental health over the period.
That equates to 2,907 years, analysis of the figures showed.
The data, obtained through Freedom of Information requests filed by the Lib Dems, also suggests that the number of days taken off as a result of mental health issues are increasing.
The SNP has been slammed for “devastating mismanagement”
In 2018-19, 172,690 sick days were taken for mental health.
In 2022-23, 271,427 days were taken – a rise of 57 per cent.
Lib Dem education spokesman Willie Rennie blamed “mismanagement” of Scotland’s education system, accusing the Governemnt of offering “next to no support for staff”.
He said: “These alarming figures expose the devastating toll of mental health absences across our schools and nurseries.
“From early years to exam years, the SNP have persisted in mismanaging Scotland’s education system.
“By offering next to no support for staff, they have caused learning environments to turn into pressure-cookers, all while the attainment gap remains as wide as ever.
“It’s time to stop asking our education staff to perform miracles and finally give them the support and resources they need to deliver the very best for children”
But a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It is vital that that the staff at our schools and nurseries are able to access the right support they need when carrying out their important duties.
“Since October 2020, the Scottish Government has allocated over £2 million to specifically support the wellbeing of the education workforce.
“An additional £200,000 this year is also supporting wellbeing coaching for staff working in schools and early learning and childcare.
“Earlier this week, the Mental Wellbeing Minister announced a new online resource for childcare professionals, which offers useful resources and materials aimed at managing their wellbeing.”