However, current guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) states that school closures are not warranted.
This latest study, published in BMC Infectious Diseases, compared opportunities for infection on school days and weekends and holidays.
The researchers found that the transmission of illness was reduced when schools were shut.
Lead researcher Dr Niels Hens, from the Hasselt and Antwerp University in Belgium, said: ‘School closure will result in reduced exposure for children. Until now, however, the exact impact of this measure has not been proven.
‘Children are important spreaders of many close contact pathogens due to their frequent and intimate social contacts, their general hygiene, and perhaps their increased shedding.
‘The reduced opportunity for contact we describe here would be a great benefit in a pandemic situation.'