PRESS RELEASE – 10th March 2015

Schools urged to support staff during menopause

Schools and head teachers are being urged to prioritise support to staff affected by the menopause. Around a quarter of teachers, including senior leaders, are female and aged between 40 and 54[1]. This group represents some of the country’s most talented and experienced classroom practitioners.

The call, which is supported by the country’s leading staff absence insurance provider for schools, Schools Advisory Service, comes as government tsar Dr. Ros Altmann seeks to raise awareness of the issues faced by women in the workplace who are experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Mandy Gallagher, Head of Nursing at Schools Advisory Service, said that staff affected by the menopause are often “suffering quietly” when balancing the demands of work and home life – including bringing up children and supporting aging parents. This can often be to the detriment of their own personal health and wellbeing. Many women may put the common symptoms of fatigue, hot flushes and increased irritability, down to the stress of these demands, rather than realising that there may be an underlying reason for the way they are feeling.

Mandy said “As a nation, we invest thousands of pounds in our female school leaders and teaching staff, all of whom form a valuable part of society. Indeed, teachers and leaders are key to the success of schools and their pupils. Headteachers and governing bodies are increasingly recognising the risk of long-term absence amongst their most talented and experienced teachers due to these health issues and a lack of support. Prioritising support for these colleagues requires a culture that gives individuals the confidence that they can discuss these sensitive issues with their line manager and that support will follow.”

Schools advisory services’ nursing team are placing an increased focus on providing confidential support to their client schools, both through access to online resources and confidential telephone consultations with experienced nursing staff. The service has recently witnessed an increase in the number of calls and enquiries regarding menopausal symptoms.

Schools Advisory Service is the UK’s largest supplier of staff absence insurance for schools. More information can be found at www.schooladvice.co.uk

[1] Note to editors: The statistics quoted have been determined using data from the Department for Education’s ‘School Workforce in England: November 2013’ publication. This provides the most up-to-date picture of the characteristics of England’s school workforce (publicly funded schools only). Data are included for head teachers, deputy and assistant heads, and classroom teachers only – age profile data are not available for teaching assistants or other support staff.

Also note that these data are taken from full-time equivalent (FTE) staff. Female staff are disproportionately part-time, so it is likely that the actual percentages of staff in the age ranges above are higher than stated.

Take first steps for best value today