What to do if your child is unwell

If your child is unwell and unable to attend school then

  • please ring in to school before 9.10 on the day of absence
  • leave a clear message if no-one answers
  • The message should include the name of your child, name of your child’s class and the reason for absence

We follow the guidelines offered by the NHS for these medical conditions:

Upset tummy- your child should not attend school until they have been free from symptoms for 48 hours. Click on this link for more information.

Impetigo is highly contagious

"Most people are no longer contagious after 48 hours of treatment or once their sores have dried and healed. It's important to stay away from work, school, nursery or playgroup until this point"  NHS Choices. Click on this link for more information about Impetigo.

Conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Click on this link for more information about Conjunctivitus

High temperature Click on this link for useful information.

Advice for these and other conditions can be found later in this article.

If you are unsure of what to do then please phone your local GP for advice. NHS Choices offer this information

To identify a rash NHS Choices have produced a slideshow! Click here to watch it.

An S2 Absence Form must to be filled in if your child needs to leave school at any part of the school day for an appointment (even if they return to school). Children leaving school for this reason need to report to the School Office before leaving so that the School Register can be updated. This is essential in the case of a school emergency. Your child needs to report to the School Office on return to school.

Medicine in school

  • We are only able to accept some prescribed medicines into school. We are not able to administer “over the counter” medicine such as throat sweets, creams or Calpol.
  • If the medicine is only needed 3 times per day then the medicine would be able to be administered at home before school, after school and at bedtime. Therefore, it would not need to be taken at school.
  • If your child needs doses of prescribed medicine 4 times per day then we are able to administer the lunchtime dose of the medicine at school.
  • These medicines, clearly labelled with the child’s name, must be handed in at the school office before school and collected at the end of the school day.
  • There is a form for parents to complete and sign available at the School Office.
  • We do not allow children to bring in any medicines including throat lozenges/sweets ointments, etc. to self-administer. There would be a real danger of accident, misuse or choking. We would not accept any responsibility for subsequent accidents, misuse or choking.
  • Any “over the counter” medicines can be administered at lunchtime at school by the parent in an emergency.

Please contact the School Office if you have any queries.

All information listed below has been taken from the Devon County Council Spotty book for infectious diseases in schools.

Sickness and Diarrhoea

The main symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain which may occur singly or in combination. The illness usually lasts only a short time and requires no specific treatment.

Anyone with gastroenteritis should be regarded as infectious and kept away from the school until the diarrhoea and vomiting have stopped for at least 48 hours.

Should blood be present in stools or a child appears particularly unwell, a doctor should be consulted.

Chicken Pox

Chickenpox usually begins with a fever, feeling generally unwell and glassy fluid filled spots spreading all over the body. Chickenpox is spread from person to person by virus shed from the nose or throat as droplets or by direct contact. The fluid inside the spot is infectious. Chickenpox is infectious during its early stages from 1 - 2 days before until 5 days after spots first appear.

The incubation period of chickenpox is between 13 and 17 days after contact with the infected person.

Children can return to school once the pox have all scabbed over.

Hand Foot and Mouth

The illness starts with red spots which become small blisters which then ulcerate.

The ulcers are painful and can be in the mouth, on the hands or feet. A fever is common, but the disease is usually mild.

The incubation period is about 3-7 days with the disease lasting about 10 days.

The best that can be done is children remain off school/nursery until clinically recovered, to disinfect articles soiled with nose and throat secretions and to practise good toilet hygiene.


Causes red eyes often with swelling, weeping or visible pus. Strict attention to hand washing reduces the spread of the virus.

Children with active infection should be risk assessed on an individual basis.


Impetigo commonly affects the face, particularly around the nose and mouth causing weeping lesions which form crusts. Young children may be generally off colour. These are infectious while the spots are wet and discharging pus. Antibiotic treatment is helpful; separate towels and thorough hand washing are important in preventing transmission.

Children can return to school once they are well and the lesions are crusted or healed.


The main symptom is itching and there may be a rash on the wrists, fingers, feet and body. Lotions can be purchased from a chemist or obtained on prescription from the doctor. It is important to follow the instructions on the bottle. The whole family should be treated at the same time even if only one person has obvious scabies.

Children can return to school on the day after they have been treated.

Slap Cheek

It initially appears as a 'flu-like' illness and then the bright red 'slapped cheeks' rash appears, followed by a reddish rash on the body. This rash may last for up to three weeks. A few children, but most adults, have mild joint pains.

By the time the 'slapped cheeks' rash appears, most patients are no longer infectious, and excluding children with the body rash serves no useful purpose.

The School Attendance Policy states that

“Absences will be treated as unauthorised unless a satisfactory explanation for the pupil’s absence is given to the school. Parents cannot authorise absences. Staff should make it clear on the school register whether a child’s absence is authorised or unauthorised.

When a child is to be absent from school without prior permission, parents should inform the school by telephone on the first day of absence and let them know what date they expect the child to return.

For a prolonged absence, this should be followed up with a written note from the parent/carer of the child. Alternative arrangements will be made individually with non-English speaking parents or carers.


Most cases of absence due to illness are short term, but parents will need to make a phone call to alert the school on the first day of absence. For prolonged absence due to illness, parents may be asked to provide the school with medical evidence such as a note from the child’s doctor, an appointment card or a prescription paper.”

Children with attendance below the recommended percentage may be asked to provide medical evidence for all absences.

Medical or dental appointments

"Parents should make every effort to ensure these appointments are made outside of school hours. Where it cannot be avoided, children should attend school for as much of that day as possible.

Authorised absences

There may be some instances where the school will authorise absence such as for a family bereavement.

Late arrival

Registration begins at 9:00am. Pupils who arrive after this time but within the registration period will be marked at late. The registration period ends at 9:10am.

Pupils who arrive after 9.00am should go straight to the school office to sign in and give a reason for their lateness. Any unjustifiable reason for absence will be marked as unauthorised. It is vital that pupils sign in at the office to ensure that appropriate health and safety regulations are followed and that all pupils are accounted for. Persistent lateness may result in disciplinary action.

School action: following up absences

Class registers are taken electronically. Where there are unexplained or unauthorised absences, the school will contact the parents or carers.”

Head Lice

Lice are small wingless insects which live on the human scalp. They may cause itchiness. They are passed from person to person, usually by head to head contact. Although several cases may occur in the same class at school, they should be considered to be a community problem because they may spread to any member of a family.

They can be found in any of the following forms:

  • lice (flesh coloured insects about 3mm long)
  • live eggs (very small, dull and flesh coloured, cemented just above the roots of individual hairs)
  • old egg shells(white and shiny harmless shells found away from the scalp)
  • lice droppings (black dots on pillows)


Lice are most easily detected by combing wet hair with a fine toothed comb. If no lice can be found, there is no need to consider applying head lice treatments, even if cases have been reported in a school. If lice are detected there are two options to deal with the problem (a combination is most effective).


“Wet combing method”: Head lice may be cleared over a 2 week period, as follows: Wash the hair in the normal way, with an ordinary shampoo;

Using lots of conditioner, and while the hair is very wet, comb through the hair from the roots to the ends with a fine comb. Make sure the teeth of the comb slot into the hair at the roots of every stroke;

Clear the comb of lice between each stroke;

Repeat this routine every 3 days for 2 weeks, so that any lice emerging from eggs are removed before they mature and spread.

Using lotions

Only those with live lice should be treated. Lotions are preferable to shampoos. These can be bought from the chemist or obtained on prescription. It is important that the instructions on the bottle are followed very carefully and that all the family and close contacts are checked and treated, if necessary. Asthmatics and those with skin problems such as eczema should use water based products, or Lyclear. Pregnant and breast feeding mothers and children under 6 months should be treated under medical supervision.


People with head-lice do not need to be excluded, including if the combing method is used (as any newly emerging lice do not mature and spread between treatments).  Treatment should be started on same day, but child does not have to be sent home from school.

Further advice

Seek advice from your school nurse. Leaflets are available from your nurse, or from the Health Protection Unit.


More Information about the identification and treatment of Head Lice/Nits can be found on these pages on the NHS Choices website:-





Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that infect the large intestine of humans. They are a common type of worm infection in the UK, particularly in children under the age of 10.



A pharmacist can help with threadworms

You can buy medicine for threadworms from pharmacies. This is usually a chewable tablet or liquid you swallow. Treat everyone in your household, even if they don't have symptoms. Tell the pharmacist if you need to treat a child under 2, or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Treatment might not be suitable and you may need to speak to a GP.

Things you should do at home

Medicine kills the threadworms, but it doesn't kill the eggs. Eggs can live for up to 2 weeks outside the body.

There are things you can do to stop becoming infected again.


  •          wash hands and scrub under fingernails – particularly before eating, after using the toilet or changing nappies
  •          encourage children to wash hands regularly
  •          bathe or shower every morning
  •          rinse toothbrushes before using them
  •          keep fingernails short
  •          wash sleepwear, sheets, towels and soft toys (at normal temperature)
  •          disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces
  •          vacuum and dust with a damp cloth
  •          make sure children wear underwear at night – change it in the morning


  •          do not shake clothing or bedding, to prevent eggs landing on other surfaces
  •          do not share towels or flannels
  •          do not bite nails or suck thumbs and fingers


You don't need to stay off school, nursery or work with threadworms.


Further information can be found within Fred's Threadworm Factsheet. This is available to download from further down the page.

Relevant documents

These documents can be downloaded from the links below:

  • S2 Absence Form
  • Medical Permission Form
  • Attendance Policy
  • School Health and Safety and Wellbeing Policy
  • Medical Policy
  • Head Lice Letter 2017
  • HS Choices-Head Lice and Nits-July 2016


Devon County Council Spotty book