Is my child too ill for school?

When your child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. These simple guidelines should 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 by. On the first day of your child’s illness, telephone the school (0151 709 6229) by 9:30am 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.

Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend school.

Common conditions

If your child is ill, it’s likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions:

Cough and cold. A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP.

Rash. Skin rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. 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 consult your GP.

Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should definitely be kept off school until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have gone or otherwise stated differently by the Head teacher. 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 doesn’t have to keep a child from school.

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


It’s important to inform the school if your child is going to be absent. If it becomes clear that your child will be away for longer than expected, phone the school as soon as possible to explain this.

It should be noted that only prescribed medicines can be administered to children in school. Consent forms must be signed and can be obtained from the main office.