Does your child really need to stay at home?

In Southampton, the Education Welfare Service works closely with the School Health Service and many other agencies to make sure that children and young people can benefit from all the educational opportunities available to them.

To achieve this aim, they work in partnership with parents/carers and schools to make sure all of Southampton's pupils attend as fully as possible.

Southampton's school attendance rate is amongst the lowest in the country and they have found a steady increase in the number of children missing school reported as illness. They need the support of all parents to tackle this trend.

To avoid unnecessary school absences, while promoting child welfare, Southampton School Health Service and the Education Welfare Service have produced the content of these pages as a general guide to help you decide whether your child is well enough to attend school.

Minor illness

If your child is unwell on a school day, consider whether they are too ill to go to school for the whole day and always contact the school first thing in the morning.

Your child's school is used to dealing with minor ailments so be assured that they will make an appropriate judgement and contact you if your child needs to be taken home from school.

Longer term absence

If your child is absent from school for three or more days, or is often absent for short spells, the school may ask you to attend a meeting in school with the Education Welfare Officer and School Health Nurse.

A letter from a parent is needed when:

  • A child has any condition requiring hospital or surgical care
  • Your child returns to school with a cast or stitches
  • Your child needs restricted PE lessons or playtime activities for more than three consecutive days

In cases of concern, schools or parents can ask for the advice of the school nurse, who may visit the child either in school or at home.

Good common sense

Use good common sense when deciding whether your child needs to stay at home.

It is not acceptable for your child to be absent from school due to the illness of a brother or sister.

Please remember that early morning aches often pass, so don't keep your child at home 'just in case' when they could be learning in class. For further advice you could talk to a member of the school staff, your doctor or the school health nurse at the number below.

Is my child well enough to attend school?

Raised temperature SHOW

Colds and coughs SHOW

Rashes SHOW

Minor aches and pains SHOW

Vomiting and diarrhoea SHOW

Sore throat SHOW

Medical or GP appointments SHOW

Contact details

Your contact details

Please make sure that the contact details your child's school has are current and up to date. It is important that the school is able to make contact with you during the day if your child is not well enough to stay in school.

Service contact details

  • School Health Service: contactable through your child's school
  • Education Welfare Service: contactable via the switchboard 023 8083 3000 or by email via
  • Southampton City Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS): 023 8029 6929

Other useful contacts and information

NHS 111 (available 24 hours for you to find out about illnesses and treatments)