When a child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school for parents.

Not every illness needs a child to stay away from school.  If a child is kept away from school, parents must inform the school on the first day of their absences giving the reason.

Common sense needs to be used when deciding whether or not a child is too ill to attend school.  Parents should ask themselves the following,

  • 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 on 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.

Sickness and Diarrhoea 48 Hour Rule

If your child has a bout of sickness or diarrhoea you must follow the 48 hour sickness and diarrhoea rule.

From time to time children are sick either at home or at school.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to distinguish between the causes and therefore it is essential that the same rule of exclusion applies in all cases of vomiting or diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting commonly affects children and staff and can be caused by a number of different germs including viruses, parasites and bacteria.  Infections can be easily spread from person to person (by unwashed hands), especially in children.  In general, it is recommended that any staff member or child with diarrhoea and/or vomiting symptoms must stay away from the school until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours and feel well. 

If your child is sick or has diarrhoea at school, we will ask you or your emergency contact to take your child home.  They should not return for 48 hours to school.  We appreciate that this is inconvenient in many cases and you may not believe your child is ill, but you will appreciate that we do this in all cases and it should reduce the risk of infection for all staff and children in school. So for example, if your child is sick at lunchtime on a Tuesday, they should not return to school until after lunch on Thursday, provided there have not been any further episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhoea.


Thank you for your understanding with this.  Further guidance on infection control may be found on this poster.  Should I keep my child off school checklist poster (publishing.service.gov.uk)




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