It can be hard deciding whether to keep a poorly child off school. A few simple guidelines can help. Not every illness needs to keep your child from school. If you keep your child away from school, be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence. Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your child well enough to do the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home.
- Does your child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home.
- Would you take a day off work if you had this condition? If so, keep your child at home.
- Cough and cold: A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they start to feel better. If your child has a more severe and long lasting cough, consult your GP. They can give guidance on whether the child should stay off school.
- Raised temperature: If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn’t attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better.
- Rash: Rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn’t attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.
- Headache: A child with a minor headache doesn’t usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and consult your GP.
- Vomiting and diarrhoea: Children with these conditions should be kept off school. They can return 48 hours after their symptoms disappear. Most cases of vomiting or diarrhoea get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist or your child is young, consult your GP.
- Sore throat: A sore throat alone doesn’t have to keep a child from school. If it’s accompanied by a raised temperature, the child should stay at home.
For more information and guidance on other infections and illnesses please take a look at guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings.
If your child has an accident in school they will be treated by one of our Paediatric First Aid trained members of staff. Parents will be notified if it is felt the child needs further treatment or has had a bump to the head.