full paper - Aclet Close Nursery School

Aclet Close Nursery School
Dear Parents / Carers,
Why it is important to keep your child off school when ill
At Aclet Close, where most of the staff are parents ourselves, we understand that taking the
decision to keep your child off school is a hard one. Apart from childcare, there is the difficulty
that children often want to come even though they are not too well. It is particularly difficult
when there is an event coming up that you and they have been looking forward to.
There are very good reasons why children need to be kept away.
1. Infection Control
Small children – despite our close care – do not have the best hygiene! Hands are not always
washed as carefully as possible, and some children are fairly new to the concept of toilets
…… consequently gastro-intestinal problems will spread rapidly. Children are also naturally
very touch-feely at this age – they hug, they cuddle, they touch and they share – everything.
The only sure way of reducing this is to say that if a child has had either sickness or diarrhoea
(loose bowel movement) then they MUST stay away from school for at least 48 after the last
episode of sickness and diarrhoea. Obviously this applies to our staff too.
Other infections, such as of the eyes (conjunctivitis is common) or ears can also spread by
easy daily contact.
2. Viruses
The same applies to viruses – flu and illnesses such as chicken-pox spread just as easily. For
some children this can be a nuisance – for others the consequences can be severe. We all
have a duty to reduce the chance of this happening.
3. Antibiotics
It has long been the policy that children on short-term antibiotics should remain at home until
they have finished the course – usually three to five days. We have heard occasionally of a
GP saying that they are fine to go to school – but we also hear from the same source that
antibiotics should be limited to the most severe cases, as otherwise antibiotics will cease to
work as infections learn to resist them. In other words, your child has something that is
significant if they have been prescribed these drugs.
Children treated with frequent antibiotics for ear infections have a risk THREE TIMES greater
for developing antibiotic-resistant infections (Journal of the American Medical Association). If
you are treated with an antibiotic, it can destroy many of the harmless strains of bacteria that
live in and on the body. This allows resistant bacteria to quickly multiply and take their place.
(NHS). Antibiotics then, although good and powerful, also kill our “good” bacteria, disrupt
digestion and make us susceptible to stronger infections for up to 12 months. As a result, we
require you to keep your child off school until they have finished their antibiotics, unless it is
long term and chronic.
Consider others – and your own child’s long-term interest!
If your child comes in to school unwell, you are risking making other children ill. Ask whether
you would be happy if your child spent a long time playing with someone who had a tummy
bug – just before you were about to go on holiday!
Children once settled at Nursery ALWAYS say they want to come – their friends are there
and there are always interesting things happening. But if you KNOW they are unwell, you are
not doing them any favours. When they become ill at nursery they lose energy, they feel
unhappy and frequently end up distressed before we can contact you. This can unsettle them
in the future.
Thank you for understanding.
Nick Birbeck, Headteacher
January 2014