Millions of children are sent to school or nursery when ill, poll claims

Work pressures and attendance are main reasons why

Gemma Francis
Tuesday 17 September 2019 11:43
Six in ten parents asked said they had not kept their child at home when suffering from a contagious infection.
Six in ten parents asked said they had not kept their child at home when suffering from a contagious infection.

Seven in 10 parents polled for a new survey admitted to sending sending their children into school or nursery when they are sick.

Work pressures and attendance were among the reasons 70 per cent of the 2,000 parents of children aged 3-16 gave for not to keep their ill child at home.

Six in 10 admitted their child had attended classes when suffering with a contagious infection such as a cold or stomach bug, while more than a third of participants believed an illness has spread around the school after they sent in their ill child.

One in four parents said they had asked their child to lie about feeling well in order to attend school.

"One of the critical areas that needs to be addressed is how we stop the spread of illness at schools," said Liam Mynes, public health manager at hygiene and health company Essity/

Matthew Burton, headteacher of Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury and star of Educating Yorkshire, said he was supportive of increased discussion around the issue.

He said: “As a parent, I completely understand the challenges parents face when their children are ill. I hope that by talking about different situations, we can help parents and support kids to get the most out of their time at school.”

The poll found that almost 70 per cent of respondents had sent their child to classes with a cold, while 17 per cent had still gone in with diarrhoea or vomiting.

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Others had gone to school with chickenpox before the spots have fully scabbed over (14 per cent), an ear infection (22 per cent) or a viral infection (19 per cent).

But while school attendance rates and work pressures were the most common reasons cited, almost three in 10 of those surveyed said they did so because they cannot take time off work.


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