25 Sep 2019

Wightman & Parrish


Many organisations are beginning to understand the definitive link between the spread of illnesses and number of absences in schools and the workplace. Absences due to illness can be disruptive to learning, and cause students to fall behind in the curriculum, as well as impacting families as a whole. Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure hygiene practices are maintained in the classroom, washroom and canteen, so that students and teachers are exposed to a lower risk of illness. Wightman & Parrish hope to work with schools to lower this rate of absences and find the best hygiene products and strategy for schools to ensure the safety of their students.

Recent Studies Show Worrying Correlation

The link between absences and grades at schools has been tracked by Ofsted and Department of Education for many years. The Department for Education (DofE) published research in 2016 which found that pupils with no absence are 1.3 times more likely to achieve Level 4 grade and above, and 3.1 times more likely to achieve Level 5 grade or above, than pupils who missed even just 10-15% of all sessions. The UK Government’s official website also released a press release in 2016 outlining that even just one day off can hamper students’ performance.

According to the Department of Education statistics in 2017/2018 – “Illness remains the most common reason for absence, accounting for 60 per cent of all absences”. Over 5 million students were absent one or more times due to illness during the period for the Autumn term 2017 and Spring Term 2018[1]. As well as the student absence rates, absence rates of teachers are also important. For teachers, over 2 million days were lost due to sickness for Teachers in 2017/18, an average of 4 days per teacher.  (ONS 2018)[2]

The Schools’ Responsibility

Schools can’t control all factors in reducing illness, but they can maintain a hygienic environment, using the appropriate products, that can ensure common illnesses such as cold, flu and stomach illnesses can be reduced. This is especially the case during the winter months, where children can easily spread illnesses to each other and to members of staff, in any area where they may congregate. With a higher government expectation, strong link between absences and grades and more autonomy given to teachers, schools have an extra responsibility to ensure students remain healthy and can attend classes.

Wightman & Parrish have been helping schools choose the right products for their classrooms, washroom and canteen areas for over fifty years. Our experience of advising on specific products can assist with the overwhelming choice on the market today. Additionally, we help with choosing the right hygiene strategy so that costs can remain low while maintaining a high standard of cleanliness and safety. Our analysis shows that the cost of essential washroom products can be as low as £3 per pupil per year. If you’d like to find out more about our services, click here.




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