Long Sutton school head defends 'duvet day' incentive

Duvet Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Staff are offered one extra holiday day at Long Sutton Primary School to spend as they wish

A head teacher has defended his decision to offer staff at a Lincolnshire school a "duvet day".

Bill Lord sets aside £3,500 from his annual budget to pay for the extra holiday for everyone at Long Sutton Primary School in Spalding.

He said it was about both recruiting and keeping "fantastic teachers in front of children".

A 'duvet day' is an absence which can be approved by the employer with no reason given.

Read more about this story and others from across Lincolnshire

Mr Lord said all staff - including himself and the cleaner - were offered one additional day a year, but had to give notice and could not take the first or last day of term off.

He said the scheme cost less to implement than the £4,000 process of hiring new staff and it was difficult to hire staff in rural schools.

'Far more valuable'

"Often young teachers coming out of university want to be near the bright lights so they will head to [big cities].

"Each year we get to July panicking as to whether we are going to be able to have the fantastic staff that our kids deserve."

The head teacher added it was essential to offer incentives to recruit and retain employees and one member of staff used her day to attend events at her children's school.

"She said the time was far more valuable to her than a pay enhancement."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Bill Lord said it was hard to recruit staff to rural schools

Kevin Courtney, from the National Union of Teachers, said it was "no surprise" some head teachers were offering additional benefits.

"The teacher recruitment and retention crisis that is blighting schools is brought about by the unacceptable levels of workload expected of teachers - which are unusually high in our country."

The Education Select Committee warned the government in February about a shortage of teachers in England.

At the time the Department for Education said there were record numbers of teachers and it was investing £1.3bn in recruitment.

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