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Head lice

Where a student is suspected of having head lice or live nits, the student is to remain at school until the end of the school day. The school must provide the student with a letter to take home informing their parent of suspected head lice/nits.
A student may not be excluded from school due to head lice/nits.
Where head lice/nits are suspected the school should recommend to parents of all students in the relevant class that they check their child for head lice/nits.
School staff must not undertake a physical inspection of a student’s head for head lice/nits without formal consent from a parent. School staff can complete a visual inspection for head lice/nits without touching the student.

Head lice

Head lice are tiny wingless blood sucking insects (2 – 3mm long) that live in the hair feeding on human blood and vary in colour from cream to brown/black. They crawl quickly on the scalp and are difficult to see. They do not jump, hop or swim and cannot be caught from animals. They transfer from one person to another in situations where people are in close contact. They are contagious and spread from direct hair to hair contact with an infected person. Very occasionally they can be passed on by sharing hats and brushes but not through using furniture or contact with carpets.
Head lice will spread anywhere where people work, play or live together. They often spread easily in schools because children are more likely to be in close contact with each other.
Common symptoms are itch and irritation causing sleep disturbance and behavioral problems. Head lice do not transmit any infectious diseases. Scratching resulting in breaks in the skin may lead to skin and lymph gland infections.


‘Nits’ is the common name for the small eggs that are laid by head lice. They are the size of a grain of salt, yellow-white in colour, and are found glued to the hair near the scalp. Common places for nits to be found are behind the ears, the back of the neck and the fringe. Dead nits are often black in colour and are found well away from the scalp.
Effective treatment
For a definition please refer to the Department of Health Head Lice and Nits fact sheet:
For further information please refer to the Head Lice Management Policy: