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Illness and Absence

Our school is passionate about ensuring that pupils come to school and have excellent attendance. However, we also appreciate that sometimes children are not well enough to come to school. As a school, we are guided by health experts as to what is an appropriate time for a child to be off school following an illness. Below is advice from NHS choices about incubation periods for illnesses, with the full link just below:


When your child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. These simple guidelines should help.

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Illness and Absence Guidelines

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 your child is too ill to attend school. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is my child well enough to do the activities of the school day? If not, keep your child at home.
  • Does my child have a condition that could be passed to other children or school staff? If so, keep your child at home.
  • Would I take a day off work if I had this condition? If so, keep your child at home.

Common conditions

​If your child is ill, it is likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions.

Whether you send your child to school will depend on how severe you think the illness is. Use this guidance to help you make that judgement.

Remember: if you are concerned about your child’s health, consult a health professional.

  • Cough and cold. A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature (over 38C) 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 your child should stay off school. Get more information in Common cold.
  • Raised temperature. If your child has a raised temperature, they should not attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better. Learn more in Feverish illness in children.
  • Rash. Skin rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions should not attend school. If your child has a rash, check with your GP, practice nurse or local pharmacist before sending them to school. 
  • Headache. A child with a minor headache does not usually need to be kept away from 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. Read more about what to do about headaches in children.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should definitely be kept off school for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have gone or longer if your child continues to present with symptoms related to this e.g. lethargy, tummy pains, headaches reluctance to eat etc.   Most cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in children get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, consult your GP. 
  • Sore throat. A sore throat alone does not have to keep a child from school - but if it is accompanied by a raised temperature, your child should stay at home. Read more about sore throat.
  • Chickenpox. If your child has chickenpox, keep them off school for five days after the rash first appears. Read more about chickenpox.


It’s important to inform the school if your child is going to be absent. On the first day of your child's illness, telephone the school to tell them that your child will be staying at home. The school may ask about the nature of the illness and how long you expect the absence to last.  If it becomes clear that your child will be away for longer than expected, phone the school as soon as possible to explain this.

Medicines in School

If your child is receiving medication from your family doctor it is likely that they will be unfit to attend school. Prescribed medicines are not given to children in school other than by special arrangements. A School Medicine Record form must be completed before any medicine is administered to Children.

If your child needs an inhaler, please inform the school office who will give you a form so that this can be administered appropriately. The inhaler will be kept in the child’s classroom.  Any medicines should be clearly labelled with the child’s name, correct dosage, the time required and a spoon if necessary.  No medicines should be brought to school by the children.

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