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Primary School
& Nursery

Illness and Absence

If your child is ill you should telephone the school office on 020 8907 5434 between 7.30am-9:00am.  If you have not rung in a member of staff will telephone you to find out where your child is.  This is for your child’s safety and to ensure that we know they are safely with you so please be understanding if you receive a call from us.


If you are not sure how long your child should be off school the table below will provide a guide for you.  For more information on an illness or condition and the latest up-to-date guidance please visit


Recommended period to be kept away from school (once child is well)



Until all spots have crusted and formed a scab – usually five-seven days from onset of rash


Chicken pox causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.

Coughs and coldsMost coughs go away on their own within 3 weeks. There's usually no need to see a GP.


It's fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or cold. But if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes.

Encourage your child to throw away any used tissues and to wash their hands regularly.

Cold sores



Many healthy children and adults excrete this virus at some time without having a ‘sore’ (herpes simplex virus)

FeverIf your child has a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes away. 

German measles

Five days from onset of rash


The child is most infectious before the diagnosis is made and most children should be immune to immunisation so that exclusion after the rash appears will prevent very few cases

Hand, foot and mouth disease



Usually a mild disease not justifying time off school


48 hours after treatment starts and/or until lesions are crusted or healed


Antibiotic treatment by mouth may speed healing. If lesions can reliably be kept covered exclusion may be shortened


Five days from onset of rash


Measles is now    rare in the UK

Molluscum contagiosum



A mild condition

Ringworm (Tinea)



Proper treatment by the GP is important.  Scalp ringworm needs treatment with an antifungal by mouth




A mild illness,    usually caught from well persons


Until treated


Outbreaks have occasionally occurred in schools and  nurseries.  Child can return as soon as  properly treated.  This should include  all the persons in the household.

Scarlet fever

24 hours AFTER first taking GP prescription medication


Treatment    recommended for the affected

Slapped cheek or Fifth disease (Parvovirus)



Exclusion is Ineffective as nearly all transmission takes place before the child becomes unwell.

Warts and verrucae



Affected children    may go swimming but verrucae should be covered

Diarrhoea and/or vomiting (with or without a specified diagnosis)

Until diarrhoea and vomiting has settled (neither for the previous 48 hours).  Please check with the school before sending your child back.


Usually there will be no specific diagnosis and for most conditions there is no specific treatment.  A longer period of exclusion may be appropriate for children under age 5 and older children unable to maintain good personal hygiene.

E-coli and Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome

Depends on the type of E-coli seek FURTHER ADVICE from the CCDC



Until diarrhoea has settled for the previous 24 hours)

There is a    specific antibiotic treatment


Until diarrhoea and vomiting has settled (neither for the previous 24 hours)

If the child is under five years or has difficulty in personal hygiene, seek advice from the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control.

Shigella (Bacillary dysentery)

Until diarrhoea has settled (for the previous 24 hours)


If the child is under five years or had difficulty in personal hygiene, seek advice from the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control.

Flu (Influenza)



Flu is most infectious just before and at the onset of symptoms


CCDC will advise


Generally requires quite prolonged, close contact for spread on action.  Not usually spread from children.

Whooping cough (Pertussis)

Five days from commencing antibiotic treatment


Treatment (usually with erythromycin) is recommended  though non-infectious coughing may still continue for many weeks




If an outbreak    occurs consult Consultant in Communicable Disease Control

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis)



Head lice (nits)



Treatment is    recommended only in cases where live lice have definitely been seen

Hepatitis A

See comments


There is no justification for exclusion of well older  children with good hygiene who will have been much more infectious prior to the  diagnosis.  Exclusion is justified for  five days from the onset of jaundice or stools going pale for the under fives  or where hygiene is poor

Meningococcal    meningitis/septicaemia

The CCDC will give specific advice on any action needed


There is no    reason to exclude from schools siblings and other close contacts of a case

Meningitis not    due to Meningococcalinfection



Once the child is well infection risk is minimal


Five days from onset of swollen glands


The child is most infectious before the diagnosis is made and most children should be immune due to immunisation




Transmission is uncommon in schools but treatment is recommended for the child and family.




There are many causes, but most cases are due to viruses and do not need an antibiotic.  For one cause, streptococcal infection, antibiotic treatment is recommended



HIV is not infectious through casual contact.  There have been no recorded cases of spread within a school or nursery.

Hepatitis B and C


Although more infectious than HIV, hepatitis B and C have only rarely spread within a school setting.  Universal precautions will minimise possible danger or spread of both hepatitis B and C.


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