A SCHOOL is closed today because of an outbreak of illness among pupils, which has seen four people admitted to hospital. 

About 120 pupils at Durham Blue Coat CE Aided Junior School, in Newton Hall, are thought to be experiencing flu like symptoms, which has forced the school to close.

Three children and one adult have been admitted to hospital due to the severity of their symptoms, according to a letter sent to parents.

Headteacher Mrs Grieve said: “Cleaning staff carried out a thorough clean of the school on Friday evening to help prevent the spread of germs.

“It is the school’s intention to try and break the cycle of illness spreading in school by carrying out a full deep clean of all areas in school over the next couple of days.”

She added: “The large number of children off school have a wide range of flu and flu like symptoms including sickness and stomach upsets.

“The germs spread easily between children and staff via coughs and sneezes.

“Unfortunately, three children and one adult have needed to be admitted to hospital due to the severity of the symptoms.”

The school closed yesterday and remains closed today.

It is hoped the school in Langley Road will reopen tomorrow, though any children with sickness, diarrhoea or respiratory problems have been asked not to return to class until they are fully recovered.

A letter from the North East Health Protection Team was sent to parents on Friday after a number of pupils reported having a respiratory illness.

The public health body said it was working with the school and Durham County Council after receiving reports of fever and sore throat, cough and vomiting among pupils. 

Dr Deborah Wilson, consultant in health protection for Public Health England North East, said: “At this time of year it is not uncommon for viruses including influenza (flu) and norovirus to circulate in the community and in schools.

“The risk of infection can be reduced by practising good hand hygiene, particularly after using the toilet, after using a tissue to catch a cough or a sneeze, and before eating.

“Children who are feeling unwell should not attend school and only return once fully recovered and at least 48 hours after symptoms have passed.

“If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or need further advice on how to manage an illness please consult your GP or NHS 111 in the normal way.”

Newton Hall Infants' School is also closed today because of an "increasing number of children off ill" due to flu and flu-like illnesses.

Durham County Council says a deep clean has been arranged to help prevent the spread of infection. The school, which is also in Langley Road, is scheduled to reopen on Friday.