Over 700 state teachers missed class during the first two months of the school year, Education Service Commission figures show.
In total, absent teachers chalked up close to 12,500 days off between them in September and October, leaked statistics suggest.
Specifically, 335 individuals were absent for various reasons in September of which 204 were primary school teachers, 128 middle and high school teachers and 128 other educators. The days they were away added up to 3,519, the Commission figures said, which translate into how many days substitute teachers would have been required.
During the second month of the academic year, 398 teachers were away, 250 from state primary schools, 142 from middle and high schools and six from technical schools, amounting to 8,977 days.
The figures mean that in September an average of 117 teachers were away from the classroom on any given day, growing to 290 on an average day in October.
Also, 733 of the people away during the two months were not at school for more than three days each. However, the figures also indicate that there has been a significant reduction in the number of substitute teachers brought in this year compared to the same period last year.
Some 1,030 educators had been absent from their classrooms in September and October 2012 racking up 17,334 days while this year’s total for the two months was 12,496.
Most substitute teachers are brought in to replace teachers on sick leave, the Commission said, while the second most prevalent reason is maternity leave.
‘Other reasons’ are listed as the third most frequent reason substitute educators are brought in.
The cost of bringing in subs during the whole 2012-2013 academic year was €8 million but the figure is expected to be lower this year.
According to most recent available statistics, those for the 2010-2011 school year, at all levels of education, there were 16,545 teachers, a pupil/teacher ratio of 10.8. Of these, 12,583 were employed in state schools from kindergarten to high school level, including community kindergartens, but not including teachers providing special education.