Payouts totalling £88,000 have been made by Bradford Council to settle injury claims made by teachers in the last three years.

The compensation was made to staff who were injured while working between 2010 and 2013.

Figures obtained by the Telegraph & Argus also show that just over three-quarters (74.6 per cent) of school staff currently off sick are on long-term sick leave.

Bradford Council declined to reveal details of the reasons for long-term sickness, but unions suggested much of it could be stress-related.

Ian Murch, from the NUT, said stress probably accounted for around half of long-term sick leave among teachers, and that he was surprised the numbers of staff off work were not higher.

He said: “There are more teachers that suffer serious stress-related illness than in other work.

“Stress-related illness is probably half of it and a lot of teachers suffer long term, stress-related illnesses.

“If teachers were just expected to teach it would be much easier.

“Many teachers are working 60 to 70-hour weeks with an absurd amount of paperwork and assessment.”

Anne Nash, branch secretary for teaching union ATL, agreed.

She said: “I am sure a lot more people who are ill just carry on until their health breaks.”

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that, of the 67 teachers currently recorded as being off sick, 50 are long term-absences – defined as four weeks or more.

Twelve teachers received retirement on ill health grounds from 2010 to 2012.

The figures relate to schools where Bradford Council is the employer, or which buy in its payroll service.

Cindy Peek, the Council’s deputy director for Children’s Services, said: “We provide support to all Council staff who are absent through sickness, whether short or long-term, and also support to staff employed by schools through our HR service, so they can return to work as soon as possible.

“Teachers are sick for a variety of reasons. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on the reasons for any long-term sickness of Council employees or staff employed by schools.”