A school hit by the winter vomiting bug has told children to stay away until the New Year.

The Health Protection Agency has raised concerns about Tideway School in Newhaven where rising numbers of students have caught Norovirus.

In a message posted on the school website this morning, headteacher Rob Corbett said classes today and tomorrow had been cancelled.

He said closing the school, which has around 850 pupils, would help stop the spread of the disease.

He said: “Having reviewed the numbers of students who are suffering from the Norovirus sickness bug and the rate of increase of these numbers I have decided to close the school to students on Thursday and Friday.

“The Health Protection Agency expressed concern over the spread of the disease with the school as the site of infection. It is known that the virus is highly resistant though will die off over the period of the Christmas holidays.

“I am very concerned that the spread of the disease close to Christmas will result in relatives of those in school being infected particularly the elderly for whom the implications could be serious.

“We have had several cases of re-infection today which has been the final element in my decision.

“We have tried hard over the last three days to ensure normal running despite high staff absence but the risk to the public health has become too great.”