21/01/2019 11:58 GMT

Southampton School On Three-Day Shutdown After Half Of Staff And 300 Pupils Get Flu

Redbridge Community School will not re-open until Wednesday.


A school has been forced to close after half of its staff and more than a quarter of pupils were hit by a suspected flu outbreak.

Redbridge Community School in Southampton is on a three-day shutdown after 56 of its staff and about 300 of its 1,000 pupils became ill.

It is expected to reopen on Wednesday, council chiefs said.

Head teacher Jason Ashley told the BBC the outbreak had had a “five-day impact” which started last Wednesday, when 62 pupils were sent home – with even more becoming ill on Thursday.

Ashley said the decision to close the secondary school followed advice from Public Health England, which also recommended the building was deep-cleaned.

He said: “I’ve been in the profession for over 24 years and I’ve never seen a virus spread so quickly around a school. It was like a domino effect.”

According to Public Health England, there were eight outbreaks of flu in schools across the country last week.

The health agency added overall flu numbers are lower than at this time last year and current strains of the illness can be avoided by getting this season’s flu vaccine.

It said the most common strain of flu this year often affects working-age adults and children.

Southampton City Council said no other schools in the area had closed – but last week Portsham Primary School in Dorset was shut for four days after it was hit by the virus.