Too much exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) radiation from the sun causes sunburn, skin damage and increases the risk of skin cancer. Sun exposure in the first 15 years of life contributes significantly to the lifetime risk of skin cancer. There is enormous potential for schools to help prevent skin cancer in future generations. Schools are central to protecting children’s skin this is because:

• Children are at school five out of seven days a week at times when UV rays are high.

• Most damage due to sun exposure occurs during the school years.

• Schools can play a significant role in changing behaviours through role modelling and education.

• Children and teachers are at risk of sunburn within 10-15 minutes of being exposed to strong sunlight.

• Children spend an average of 1.5 hours outside per school day, more if involved in sports and outdoor activities.

• Skin cancer is largely preventable through behaviour modification and sun protection during early years.


Adopt sun protection strategies

Encourage pupils and staff to wear protective clothing during summer term


• School Clothing is made of close weave fabric and includes shirts with collars and longer sleeves, longer style dresses and shorts. Sports clothes should not include vest style tops.

• Hats children are required to wear wide brimmed hats (6-10cm) that protect their face, neck and ears such as legionnaire or bucked hats, when they are outside.

• Sunglasses Children’s eyes are very sensitive to light. It is important therefore to protect their eyes by ensuring they wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses if possible. Make sure the sunglasses have UV protection. (Look for BS EN 1836:1997 on the label.)


Sunscreen (check with your education department for their policy on sunscreen use)

Covering up and seeking shade are the most important sun protection measures. In addition, sunscreen can provide protection to exposed skin. However sunscreen should not be used to increase the amount of time spent in the sun. Pupils should be encouraged to apply sunscreen before school starts – SPF 30 or above. We ask that children are not encouraged to bring in sun cream for application at lunchtime.



• The school makes sure there is sufficient number of shelters and trees providing shade in the school grounds particularly in areas where pupils congregate.

• In consultation with the education department, shade provision is considered in plans for future buildings and grounds.

• The availability of shade is considered when planning excursions and all outdoor activities.

• Children are encouraged to make use of available shaded areas when outside.

• Support recommendations to seek shade during breaks and dinner hour.

• Provide permanent or temporary shady structures within school grounds.


Involve staff, students and parents in the development and implementation of the policy

Role modelling

• Encourage staff to act as role models by;

Ø  Wearing protective hats, clothing and sunglasses when outside.

Ø  Apply SPF 15+ broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen.

Ø  Seeking shade whenever possible.

• Families and visitors are encouraged to use a combination of these sun protection measures when attending and participating in outdoor activities.

• Schedule outdoor activities before 11am or after 3pm.

• Include skin cancer education in the curriculum.

• Encourage parents to support the school by acting as role models and providing protection for their children.

• Be positive in your approach. Allow sun protection strategies to be fun, involve everyone, and provide choices.

• Develop resources on skin cancer in school library.

• Encourage fund raising events for materials and shady structures.


Sun Protection Policy Checklist for Primary Schools


It is important to raise awareness of why we need sun protection if you want to encourage pupils to change the way they behave in the sun.

Sun Protection Strategy
In place
Planned soon
Not planned
Sun protection and the dangers of sunbed use are incorporated into the curriculum for all ages.
All teachers and staff are made aware of this policy and the importance of sun protection within the school environment.
Sun protection is actively promoted to pupils in other ways at significant points of the school year including before and during summer and prior to summer holidays (e.g. assemblies, workshops, talks).

Parents are informed of the importance of sun protection through information sent home in a letter informing them of the sun protection policy (see the parent letter template in these guidelines).



Consider sun protection when planning all outdoor activities from April to September (the sun is at its strongest at this time of year).


Sun Protection Strategy
In place
Planned soon
Not planned
Fundraising for trees and shade structures.
Seats and equipment are moved to shady areas.

Organised activities make use of the shade available.

Outdoor activities and events are planned outside of 11am -3pm where possible and appropriate (if this is sometimes unavoidable, ensure hats, clothing and sunscreen are worn to minimise risk of sunburn).

In the summer term, morning break is extended and lunch breaks shortened to minimise time in the midday sun.
Pupils are encouraged to wear wide-brimmed (or legionnaire style) hats when outside.

Pupils are encouraged to wear tops that cover their shoulders (vests and strappy tops are discouraged).

School uniform tops and hats offer suitable sun protection.

Pupils are allowed to wear UV protective sunglasses.
Teachers and assistants also wear suitable hats and clothing to reinforce role modelling.



Sunscreen should be used for covering exposed areas of skin when shade may be unavailable and protective clothing is not practical e.g. during outdoor swimming, PE lessons and school excursions. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 which is also labelled broad spectrum to protect from UVA and UVB rays and ensure that sunscreen is applied regularly and generously.
Letters are sent home asking for parental permission for teachers to supervise application of sunscreen.

At least SPF 30 sunscreen is used and applied before school and is applied generously and regularly. For the average person, this means two teaspoonfuls for the head, arms and neck or two tablespoonfuls if in a swimming costume.

Sunscreen is reapplied regularly, by pupils, as it can be easily washed, rubbed or sweated off.
Each pupil has their own labelled bottle of sunscreen.
There is a school stock of sunscreen for pupils who forget their own.
The school provides sunscreen free of charge for all pupils.


Reviewing and evaluating the policy

• Review current health education guidelines annually.

• Conduct small surveys in school, e.g. attitudes and behaviours towards sunshine, level of knowledge of sun protection strategies, number of teachers/students sunbathing /using shaded areas during lunchtime.

• Incorporate into curriculum.


Ratified: 30th June 2014

Due for review: June 2017

Date Reviewed: May 2019




Chair of Governors signature………………………………….Date…………………………



Head Teachers signature……………………………………..Date………………………….