Health protection in schools, school vaccination programmes, information and resources.
These resources may help if you're completing one of our healthy schools awards.
Overview of health protection
Health protection in schools aims to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by:
- promoting and facilitating vaccinations
- managing infectious diseases, including notifications
- keeping children away from school when needed
- promoting personal hygiene, particularly handwashing
- maintaining a clean environment
Immunising children is a safe and important way to protect them from diseases.
When children aren't vaccinated, they're at a higher risk of catching and becoming very ill from the disease.
The NHS routinely offer a schedule of immunisations free of charge. You can find up-to-date immunisation advice on the NHS Choices website Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/ (opens new window).
The School Health Nursing Team Go to https://cchp.nhs.uk/cchp/explore-cchp/school-health-nursing (opens new window) can also advise on the latest national immunisation schedule.
The School Health Nursing Team check what immunisations a child has had:
- when a child joins your your school
- at the time of any vaccination
You should encourage parents to:
- have their child vaccinated
- organise any missed vaccination or further catch-up doses through the School Health Nursing Service
You can use our document immunisation letter template (14 KB) to contact parents.
Each year the School Aged Immunisation Service Go to https://www.sirona-cic.org.uk/nhsservices/services/school-aged-immunisations-team/ (opens new window) in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire offers immunisations to children in primary and secondary schools.
Home-schooled children and children who do not attend school can also benefit from the School Aged Immunisation Service.
School vaccination programmes
There are 4 main vaccination programmes.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
The first HPV vaccination Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine/ (opens new window) is routinely offered to girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years old when they're in school Year 8.
The second dose is offered 6 to 24 months after the first dose. It's important to have both doses of the vaccine to be properly protected.
The HPV vaccine helps protect against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer, some mouth and throat cancers, some cancers of the anal and genital areas. It also helps protect against genital warts.
Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY)
The MenACWY vaccine Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/men-acwy-vaccine/ (opens new window) is part of the routine schedule and is offered to all year 9 students alongside the teenage booster vaccine.
Meningococcal disease is caused by invasive bacterial infection.
The Teenage Booster (Td/IPV)
The teenage booster vaccine Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/3-in-1-teenage-booster/ (opens new window)is a single injection which boosts protection against tetanus, diphtheria and polio. It's routinely offered to all year 9 students alongside the MenACWY vaccine.
Nasal Flu Vaccine (Influenza)
As the main flu viruses can change each year, a new nasal spray flu vaccine Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/ (opens new window) is given each year.
The School Aged Immunisation Team will also deliver the nasal flu vaccine each year to all primary school aged children and all students in year 7.
The current school schedule for Bristol is:
HPV dose 1
HPV dose 2
The School Aged Immunisation Team will update you on any changes to the vaccination sessions.
If a pupil or staff has an infectious or communicable disease
Let the local Health Protection team know if a member of staff, pupil or parent has a communicable or infectious disease, such as
- whooping cough
They can investigate and support you.
Call 0300 303 8162. This is a 24 hour service.
Also take some time to read the government guidance on Health protection in schools and other childcare facilities Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-and-other-childcare-facilities (opens new window) and ensure that school staff are aware of the importance of relaying information quickly to school and setting leaders if cases are reported to them.
You should include the link to this guidance on your public website so that parents and pupils can also see what steps you will take in this scenario.
This checklist will help you support the School Aged Immunisation Team with the vaccination process.
Make sure you:
- have a named contact within the school to coordinate with the School Nurse Team
- give the School Nurse Team year lists, for all students getting vaccinated
- send out the immunisation consent forms, accompanying letter and leaflets
- keep a record of the immunisation consent forms you get back and chase any outstanding forms
- schedule a convenient day and time for the School Nurse Team to come into the school
- set up a suitable room for the immunisation sessions
- tell the school nurses if a student has missed vaccinations and support the student where possible, for example if they need interpreters
- tell students that if they miss a vaccination they can either get it at a different session with the school nurses, or with their GP practice
- actively promote and raise awareness of the programmes
- contact the school health nurse to arrange a clinic appointment if a pupil misses a vaccine, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01275 373 104
Handwashing is one of the most important ways to control the spread of infections, especially:
- infections that cause diarrhoea and vomiting
- respiratory disease
Handwashing should take at least 20 seconds, using soap and warm water. Hands should be dried thoroughly.
Find more information in the NHS handwashing guidance Go to https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ (opens new window).
You can display the handwashing guide next to school hand washing facilities.
Always wash hands:
- after using the toilet
- before eating or handling food
- after handling animals
Cover all cuts and scratches with waterproof dressings.
Coughing and sneezing
Coughing and sneezing spread infections. Encourage children and adults to:
- cover their mouth and nose with a tissue
- wash hands after using or throwing away tissues
- not spit
Further information and resources
School staff and governors:
- pdf Guide to Bristol's school vaccination programmes (132 KB)
- Guidance on Infection, Prevention and Control in Schools and Childcare Settings Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-and-other-childcare-facilities (opens new window)
- The Complete Routine Immunisation Schedule Go to (opens new window)
- Further Information on Childhood Vaccinations Go to http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/vaccination-schedule-age-checklist.aspx (opens new window)
- Teaching and Learning Resources, including lesson plans Go to http://www.e-bug.eu/ (opens new window)
- Video on how vaccines work Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=-muIoWofsCE&ucbcb=1 (opens new window)
- Teaching and Learning Resources, including lesson plans Go to https://www.e-bug.eu/ (opens new window)
Parents and carers:
- Vaccination tips for parents and carers Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/vaccination-appointment-tips-for-parents/ (opens new window)
- Booking your child's vaccination Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/booking-your-childs-vaccination-appointment/ (opens new window)
- Information on Childhood Vaccinations Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/ (opens new window)
- Roald Dahl vaccination promotion campaign Go to https://www.roalddahl.com/roald-dahl/timeline/1960s/november-1962 (opens new window)
- Easing the concerns of vaccines and porcine gelatine Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccines-and-porcine-gelatine (opens new window)