I have been signed off with stress for the last 6 weeks because of work related stress and cannot face going back to work. One reason was for the work load, we have a new management team and Headteacher (the 3rd in 2 years and 4 months). I probably could have got by with the extra work load but the last straw was the continuous unprofessional behaviour from a member of the SLT. Thankfully, with the support of my union, the school have agreed to release me from contract, but in total I will have had 9 weeks sick leave. For references I will have my current Headteacher and then the previous Headteacher who retired in the summer, who I got on well with. Now I am starting to consider what I need to do in January. I am worrying once I have applied for jobs about what happens when I get an interview. How do I approach my sickness? I assume that the interviewers may bring up the sickness as it may be in the reference. I am worried the sickness looks like I cannot cope with pressure. Additionally, I feel I would not be able to talk about the situation fully because it would put the school in a bad light and would look unprofessional highlighting a colleague’s poor behaviour. How do I reassure them I am a very hardworking person and generally I can deal with stressful situations when I am not being bullied? Prior to this I didn’t have any sick days. If the interviewers do not mention my sickness, do I mention it anyway? Just in case the reference is late coming in or they find out about the sickness after giving me a job. My union suggested that I could suggest for a temporary contract if they are worried.