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The parents' guide to school attendance

School attendance explained for parents
How many days per year is your child expected to be in school? What happens if they’re ill or you want to go on holiday? We explain the facts around school attendance.

All children will have days when they’re not able to go to school, whether that’s due to illness, holiday or a family emergency, and the occasional day off is unlikely to affect their education.

However, missing too much school can be seriously detrimental.

A child who misses school just twice per month will lose out on 18 days’ education across the school year – that’s nearly four weeks.

Coronavirus school absence update

It is currently recommended by the NHS that if your child has symptoms of Covid-19, they should do their best to avoid contact with other people. If they don't feel well enough to go to school, then they shouldn't. 

The symptoms to be aware of are:

  • A temperature above 37.8C
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of, or changes to, their sense of taste and/or smell
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

NHS guidance currently states:

It is not recommended that children and young people are tested for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional.

If a child or young person has a positive COVID-19 test result they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, the risk of passing the infection on to others is much lower.

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