Health checks and vaccinations at school

Throughout their time at school, your child will be offered a number of health checks and vaccinations.

Health checks and vaccinations are only carried out with your permission.

For the majority of children, school health checks give a normal result. But the checks can make a big difference for those children with an unrecognised health problem. The sooner a medical condition is picked up, the less the impact it will have on your child’s life.

School entry health check

On starting school, your child will be offered the school entry health check. A school nurse will visit the school to check your child’s:

  • height and weight
  • hearing
  • vision

If evidence of a problem is found, your child will be referred to your GP for further investigation.

Find out more about Health checks in childhood.

National child measurement programme

As part of this programme, children in reception (ages four and five) and year six (ages 10 and 11) are weighed and measured at school. When your child enters these years, you will receive a letter explaining more.

If you don't withdraw your child from the programme, trained staff from your local NHS provider will weigh and measure your child in their clothes. They'll take care to ensure that the measurements are taken in private and aren't shared with school staff or other children.

The NHS collects this information from all the schools in England and uses it to plan and provide better health services for children.

The results will also give you, the parent, an idea of whether or not your child is a healthy weight.

In some areas, NHS providers will automatically send your child’s results to you. In others, you will need to ask to see the result. The letter that's sent to you before your child is measured will give details on how to access the results.

Maintaining a healthy weight in childhood is important for your child’s health now and in the future. There’s evidence that overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults. These adults are more likely to develop health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Read more about the National Child Measurement Programme.

School vaccinations

Before your child starts school, they will be given vaccinations against a range of serious – and occasionally fatal – infectious diseases, including diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, polio, whooping cough, and measles, mumps and rubella.

Between the ages of 12 and 18 your child will be offered further vaccinations while they are at school including:

  • For girls aged 12-13 (school year eight): the cervical cancer vaccination, also called the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, to help protect against cervical cancer. There is also a “catch up” programme, which offers the vaccine to girls aged 14 to 18.
  • For teenagers age 13-18: the '3-in-1 teenage booster vaccination against polio, diphtheria and tetanus. 
  • For teenagers age 13-15: the Men C teenage booster vaccination against meningitis C. 

Read more about the NHS childhood vaccination schedule.

National Child Measurement Programme: Kids' views

Watch this video to see children’s views about their experience of having their height and weight measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP).

Media last reviewed: 13/09/2013

Next review due: 13/09/2015

Page last reviewed: 01/12/2012

Next review due: 01/12/2014

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