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Covering absent teachers and support staff can be financially costly, particularly for schools who need to engage supply teachers or who choose to directly hire staff to cover absences. Staff absences also have a detrimental impact on productivity and can be unsettling for the students, as well as putting increased pressure and workloads on existing members of staff.

Despite the obvious difficulties that staff absences can cause schools, they are very common, with approximately 57% of teachers taking a sickness absence each year. They are also unpredictable which makes them particularly hard to budget for.

A staff absence insurance policy will pay your school a fixed amount (chosen by you) in the unfortunate event that a member of staff is absent from work. This will allow your school to cover the costs incurred by the absence, whether that is paying to employ full-time cover staff or engaging external supply teachers.

By and large you will be covered for unplanned absence days due to sickness or bodily injury. These are some of the most common and frequent absence causes within schools. You will also be covered for non-sickness absence days such as bereavement, jury service, adoption and paternity leave. There are additional cover options for absence caused by COVID-19, pre-existing conditions, stress or mental health issues and maternity. You can see a full breakdown of the absence types we protect you against here.

Absolutely. We are one of the only providers in the market to offer cover for COVID-19. If you choose COVID-19 cover and one of your insured members of staff tests positive, you can make a claim.

Self-isolation for members of staff showing symptoms of having COVID-19 is covered in our policy.

We give you the option to include cover for your non-teaching staff such as administrators, support workers and caretakers. You can also select a different daily benefit and waiting day period from that of your teaching staff categories. The daily benefit payable for part-time staff is proportionate to their hours worked.

We are proud to be one of the longest-standing providers in the market. This longevity has given us the expertise and knowledge of what school’s want from their insurance provider, and how we can best deliver that. As a result, we have a nationwide portfolio of schools who benefit from our relevant, trustworthy and financially secure insurance policy.

A discretionary mutual, commonly known as mutual societies or a funding group, is a form of protection to cover members against a certain event or risk, such as staff absences. However, mutuals such as these are discretionary, where the member only has the right to have their claims considered, and not necessarily paid.

Our policy is a legally binding insurance contract – meaning all claims (which fall within the policy terms and conditions) must be paid.

What’s more, our insurance offers additional layers of financial protection that our schools wouldn’t be entitled to as part of a discretionary mutual.

Members of a discretionary mutual not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority, do not have access to the services offered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the event of a complaint or the failure of the mutual society to meet its financial obligations.

In short, no. Under our insurance policy, your school has the contractual right to have all valid claims paid.

Depending on the circumstances and preferences of your school, we offer the choice of three different policy types – continuous, annual or multi-year.

The difference between an annual and continuous policy is mostly relevant when it comes to renewal. Our continuous policy will carry over your ongoing claims from one year to another, also recording your exact claims history. Our annual policy resets everything and effectively starts again with any pre-existing conditions being taken from the ‘renewal date’. Any ongoing claims will not be paid from the renewal date or will be added at an extra cost to your new premium. We now also offer the option of a multi-year policy. This provides continuity and removes the anxiety of renewing your policy for up to 24 or 36 months.

In short, yes. We are also available to offer discounts for MAT’s and cluster groups – please do contact us to find out what discounts are applicable to your group.

As a result of heavy workloads and stringent budgets, schools can often feel like demanding and pressurised working environments. As a result, 16% of all staff absence days in schools are caused by stress. Therefore, we provide your school with the option to add one of our two stress cover options, Standard or Premium, to your school’s staff absence insurance policy. You can learn more about our different levels of stress cover here.

It is common for members of staff to suffer from pre-existing conditions such as stress or back pain. Adding cover for pre-existing conditions means you can still claim when a member of staff is absent if such a condition reoccurs throughout the duration of your policy. We consider a pre-existing condition an absence whereby a member of staff has suffered from the same problem, resulting in more than five days’ absence, in the 12 months prior to the start of your policy.

All our schools will benefit from access to a range of industry leading occupational health and wellbeing services, included as part of their insurance premium. These healthcare services are designed to prevent many absences, ensure a fast and professional response is offered to absentees and support your workforce through and difficulties they are experiencing.

Getting a quote is simple and will only take a couple of minutes of your time. Visit our online quoting system here, tell us your required basis of cover and we’ll provide you with an instant price to get covered. If you’d prefer to speak with someone, simply give us a call on 0800 862 0960 and we will be happy to assist you.

We’ve designed it so arranging cover could not be simpler. Once you’ve received your quote you can either accept the terms and conditions and click ‘put me on cover’ or give us a call and let us take care of the rest.

We operate an online claims system which makes claiming quick and easy. All claims can be logged via the client area of our website, and you will only be asked to provide some basic information regarding the insured’s working hours, absence type and absence details. No need for a constant back and forth via email, telephone or post. In a few quick clicks and a fraction of the time, you can have everything submitted and ready for us to process.

If you feel you have cause for complaint this should be addressed to:

The Compliance Officer
Harrington Bates
8 Brunel Court, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 7LP
Telephone: 01565 760019
Facsimile: 01565 621169

We will investigate your concerns and provide you with a written response setting out the outcome and reason.

If we cannot resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, you may, if eligible, refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Normally to be eligible you must be an individual consumer or a micro-enterprise or a charity or trustee of a trust under a certain size. However, you can find the full FOS eligibility criteria on their website. The FOS can be contacted at:

Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
Harbour Exchange Square,
E14 9SR
Telephone: 0800 0234 567 or 0300 123 9 123
Facsimile: 020 7964 1001

Yes, Harrington Bates is a trading style of Harrington Bates (Risk Management) Limited and we are an Appointed Representative of Absence Protection Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). You can check this on the FCA Register by visiting the FCA website here.

Please be aware that the products and services provided under our occupational health, wellbeing and maternity cover do not fall within the scope of the FCA’s regulated activities and, therefore, are not covered by the regulatory protection afforded to regulated business.

Simply tell us your required basis of cover and we'll provide you with an instant price