Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 14:37 UK

Payout deal for stressed teacher

Andrew Massey
Mr Massey has undergone lengthy therapy

A teacher who said his job ruined his health has been paid a "substantial" sum as compensation for his ordeal.

Andrew Massey, 54, has been unable to work since going sick with stress from New College in Leicester, where he taught design and technology, in 2004.

Mr Massey received an undisclosed but substantial out-of-court settlement after taking legal action against Leicester City Council.

He said he struggled to cope with the pupils' behaviour at the school.

Leicester City Council declined to comment on the case.

Hair on fire

He told the BBC: "It was grim. I was late for lessons because I was dealing with fights and other incidents in corridors.

"Balconies were dangerous because you could be spat on, or have books dropped on you.

I can't do rapid speech, my whole body hurts with the determination to get words out
Andrew Massey

"You'd see a pupil trying to set another's hair on fire with a lighter. We had 13 false fire alarms in one morning.

"We were told steps would be taken, but nothing effective ever happened.

"The predominant feeling is anger that I should have been reduced to what I am, that I should have lost so many of the good qualities that I had.

"I can't do rapid speech, my whole body hurts with the determination to get words out. I have become so much more difficult to live with."

Mr Massey was supported in his case by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

'Enormous stress'

Peter Flack, assistant secretary of the NUT's Leicester branch, said: "This problem is certainly getting worse. The pressures are far greater.

"There are new demands, league tables, government targets - and in some schools declining behaviour, which puts enormous stress on teachers."

The city council has admitted it does not know exactly how many of its teachers are affected by stress.

Fifty teachers took more than 2,300 days off sick in the 2006/7 school year, but the authority does not keep a breakdown of reasons for absence.

Figures obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act show that in Leicestershire more than 2,500 teaching days were lost last year because of stress among 65 staff.

One teacher was absent for more than six months. The NUT believes the statistics do not show the full extent of the problem, because many teachers do not like to admit they are suffering from stress.

Leicestershire County Council was unavailable for comment.

New College is now under new leadership and has been taken out of special measures by Ofsted.




SEE ALSO
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