Students at Creaney Primary School should be protected against over exposure to UV radiation.
- Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.
- Research indicates that childhood and adolescent sun exposure is an important contributing factor in the development of skin cancer.
- As students are at school during times when UV radiation levels are highest schools play an important role in minimising student’s UV exposure.
- Our sun protection policy has been adopted to ensure that all staff and students attending our school are protected from skin damage caused by UV radiation.
- This policy is to be implemented throughout the year but with particular emphasis from the beginning of September through to the end of May.
- The sun protection practices outlined in this policy will be applied to all school activities including sports carnivals, excursion and camps.
- The policy has been developed in consultation with the whole school community.
- All parents will be informed of this sun protection policy when they enrol their child/children.
- All staff will be briefed on the sun protection policy.
- It will be promoted via the school newsletters, assemblies, daily messages, whole of school activities and parent and staff meetings.
- Teachers will be encouraged to wear broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket hats for all outdoor activities including yard duty.
- Parents and visitors will be encouraged to wear broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket hats when attending or participating in school outdoor activities.
- All students will be required to wear broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket hats when outdoors.
- Teachers will direct children not wearing broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket hats to play in an area that is protected from the sun [no hat – play in the shade].
- Students will be required to wear broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket hats, sun protective clothing and sunscreen for all camps, sports days and excursions. These items will be listed on the parent permission form.
- Teachers and students will be required to wear swim tops for any outdoor swimming events.
- The school community will ensure that the Uniform Policy supports this policy.
- The school community will ensure there is adequate provision of shade within the school grounds by assisting the planting trees and building shade structures particularly in areas where students congregate [canteen, lunch, outdoor lesson areas].
- Teachers and students will be encouraged to use shaded areas when outdoors.
- The school community will ensure there is adequate shade provided at sports carnivals and outdoor events.
- Teachers will timetable as many outdoor activities as possible before 10am. When this is not possible outdoor events should be as far from 12 noon as possible [adjust hours for daylight savings].
- The school community will encourage the use of SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen by;
- Providing sunscreen in the classroom.
- Allowing students time to apply sunscreen prior to outdoor activities, eg before coming to school (parents), before lunch (teachers) before other outdoor activities such as sports camps of excursion (teacher in charge or parents).
- The wearing of Cancer Council sunglasses will be encouraged to provide protection for eyes.
- The school and teachers will incorporate sun protection and skin cancer awareness programs into the appropriate Key Learning Areas of the school curriculum.
- The school will annually review the sun protection policy.
- Ensure their child/children have a broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat. The Uniform Policy hats meet with Cancer Council recommendations.
- Ensure their child/children’s clothing provides adequate protection from UV radiation. The Uniform Policy clothing meets the recommendation of the Cancer Council for sun protection.
- Ensure their child/children apply SPF 30+ broad spectrum water resistant sunscreen before leaving for school.
- Act as positive role models by practicing Sun Smart behaviours.
- Support the school’s Sun Protection Policy and help to design and regularly update the Policy.
The School Will
- Act as positive role models by practicing Sun Smart behaviours.
- Will incorporate sun protection and skin cancer awareness programs into the appropriate Key Learning Areas of the school curriculum.
- Will ensure the implementation of the Sun Protection Policy.
- Be aware of the Sun Protection Policy.
- Take responsibility for their health by being SunSmart
- Comply with the Policy by wearing hats, protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoor.
- Use shaded or covered areas as much as possible.
- Act as positive role models of SunSmart behaviour for other children.
- Be activity involved in initiatives to protect the school community from over exposure to the sun.
- Help design and regularly update the Sun Protection Policy.
- Participate in SunSmart education programs.
Although our senses can easily detect sunlight and infrared radiation (heat), they cannot detect the level of Ultra Violet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun. Although UV radiation can’t be seen or felt, it can damage skin in all types of weather. The UV radiation can be reflected by surfaces such as buildings, concrete, sand, snow and water. Exposure to UV radiation can cause damage to the eyes and skin. Damage to the skin may include premature ageing and/or the development of skin cancer.
Australia has high levels of UV radiation, mainly because the country is close to the equator. The higher the UV levels, the less time it takes for skin damage to occur. It can take as little as 15 minutes for sunburn to occur in the summer midday sun with UV radiation levels most intense around the middle of the day. Generally over 70% of the total UV radiation from the sun is received between 10am and 3pm.
How Intense is the Sun?
The UV Index (UVI) indicates the level of UV radiation from the sun. It divides UV radiation levels into low (1–2), moderate (3–5), high (6–7), very high (8–10) and extreme (11 and above). [World Health Organization (2002) Global UV Index: A practical guide].
The higher the UV Index, the more quickly skin damage can occur. The UV radiation forecast should be used as a guide rather than the temperature when planning outdoor activities. The UV forecast is provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and is also reported in some newspaper, radio and television weather reports.
How Much Sun Do We Need for Healthy Bones?
How Much Sun is Needed to Achieve Adequate Levels of Vitamin D? The majority of Australians achieve adequate Vitamin D levels through the sun exposure they receive during typical day-to-day outdoor activities. During summer, the majority of people can maintain adequate vitamin D levels from a few minutes of exposure to sunlight on their face, arms and hands or the equivalent area of skin on either side of the peak UV periods (10 am to 3 pm) on most days of the week.
In winter in the southern parts of Australia, where UV radiation levels are less intense, people may need about two to three hours of sunlight to the face, arms and hands, or equivalent area of skin, spread over a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. People in southern states may not need sun protection from May to August when the UV Index is likely to be below 3. The only exception is if they are at high altitudes or near highly reflective surfaces like snow.
In winter in northern parts of Australia, people will continue to maintain adequate vitamin D levels going about their day-to-day activities, so it is not necessary to deliberately seek UV radiation exposure.
How Can Public Schools Manage Sun Protection Effectively?
Western Australian public schools have a duty of care to support and offer students reasonable protection from the sun. As part of the school’s health education program, a variety of learning activities can be provided to develop students’ knowledge, attitudes and skills about sun protection.
The Department’s Student Health Care policy requires Principals to consult with parents, staff and, where appropriate, students to develop agreed procedures for promoting effective sun protection. The Cancer Council recommends that schools should include the following provisions:
- All students wear a broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket (minimum 6cm brim, deep crown) hat when outside
- Sun protective clothing is considered in the choice or review of the school uniform/dress code
- Positive role modelling of sun protection behaviour is demonstrated by parents, school staff and volunteers on the school site and during off-site activities, such as excursions
- The use of SPF 30+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen is encouraged
- Programs on skin cancer prevention are included in the curriculum
- The sun protection plan is reflected in the planning of all outdoor events (e.g. camps, excursions and sporting events) and the development of facilities (e.g. building of new play/recreation areas)
- Outdoor activities such as swimming lessons and carnivals are scheduled, whenever possible, to minimise the time outdoors between 10 am and 3 pM
- The use of shade is maximised during outdoor activities and indoor facilities are used wherever possible
The school has sufficient shade or is working towards increasing shade (natural or built) in the school grounds
- The school reviews its sun protection plan regularly (at least once every two years). This includes monitoring the school’s compliance with the plan and making suggestions for improvement
Reduce Your Risk
Schools can help protect staff and students against sun damage and skin cancer by using a combination of the following five steps:
1 Slip on protective clothing
Cover up as much of the skin as possible.
2 Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen
Make sure it is broad spectrum and water-resistant.
3 Slap on a hat
Wear a brimmed hat that covers your face, head, neck and ears.
4 Seek shade
Make use of trees or built shade structures – or provide your own!
5 Slide on some sunglasses
Close fitting wrap-around styles offer the best protection
Extra care should be taken between 10am and 3pm when UV radiation is most intense. Check your skin regularly and see a doctor if you notice any unusual changes.
The Cancer Council WA can provide additional assistance to schools through the SunSmart Schools Program – for details on this program please contact the Schools Coordinator on 9388 4301.
Further information and educational resources specifically designed for teachers, school health nurses and school administrators can be found at:
For information, facts and support on skin cancer or other cancer issues call The Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.