Public Health Guidance

Public Health Issues relating to schools

This page is a directory of information and resources for schools and childcare settings in relation to public health matters.

Health protection

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has produced the following practical resources for staff of schools and childcare settings, providing guidance and advice on how to manage cases of infectious diseases:


Reporting outbreaks

UKHSA's local health protection teams (HPTs) provide specialist public health advice and support to prevent and reduce the effect of infectious diseases.

Not all infectious diseases need to be reported to the local HPT, and not all infections require exclusion. It is important to read the above guidance to ensure you are taking the correct actions in response to an infectious disease circulating in your setting.

If you need to contact the HPT for advice and support managing an outbreak of an infectious illness you can contact:

UKHSA Thames Valley Health Protection Team (South East)


Phone: 0344 225 3861


Measles is a highly infectious disease, especially within schools, and can be very serious.

Immunisation is the safest and most effective way to protect against measles. Children should receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine before the age of 5 years for lifelong protection. This is offered as part of the NHS’s routine childhood immunisations.

Suspected cases of measles in a school should be isolated until they can be picked up by their parents, and should be advised to seek advice from their GP/clinician.

Please see the attached FAQs for education and childcare settings.

Current update:

There has been a rise in measles cases in England in 2023 as vaccination rates have been falling. NHS England has launched a national MMR campaign, inviting parents to check their child’s immunisation history and book an appointment at their GP for the MMR vaccination.

Staff should also make sure that they have had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. Contact your GP practice if you are unsure if you are up to date or if you need to catch up.

Your setting can support this campaign by signposting parents to the resources and raising awareness of the importance of getting vaccinated.

“Outbreaks packs”

UKHSA has produced “outbreak packs” on gastroenteritis, acute respiratory infections and scarlet fever for education and young people settings.

These documents help settings manage outbreaks of these diseases that might occur, standardise the response, and minimise the delay in getting such advice to you.

The “outbreak packs” give an at-a-glance outline of useful information such as:

  • principles in preventing transmissions
  • actions to be undertaken by your staff
  • when to contact HPTs
  • resources for communication with parents and children



Gastroenteritis is an infection in the gut which causes diarrhoea and/or vomiting. The principles in this pack are also effective at limiting the spread of viral and bacterial infections, including norovirus


Respiratory Outbreaks

Respiratory infections generally refer to infections of parts of the body involved in breathing. It may be caused by the common cold, influenza, Covid-19 or other diseases.


Scarlet Fever Outbreaks

The bacteria Strep A (Group A Streptococcus) can cause scarlet fever and other types of infections.



Routine or universal testing for Covid-19 ended in April 2022 under the Government’s “Living with Covid-19” plan.

Please see this Department for Education article on the latest rules and guidance on Covid-19 in education settings, including what to do if a staff member or a child has symptoms or tests positive.

Other guidance include:

Please also see the above section on ‘respiratory outbreaks’.

Teaching resources

The e-Bug programme ( is a teaching resource developed by UKHSA that educates children and young people on hygiene, the spread of infection, and antibiotics.