RESOURCES: Sun Safe Schools – The UK’s first award based initiative

Written by: HTU | Published:

Being sun-burnt as a child significantly increases a person's risk of developing skin cancer. As such, striking a balance between encouraging fun in the sun and ensuring that children stay 'sun safe' while at school is of paramount importance.

As the days get longer and warmer, and outdoor play becomes an even bigger part of daily life at school, it is vital that primary schools strike a balance between encouraging fun in the sun and ensuring that their pupils are staying "sun safe".

With the help of our fantastic, free and comprehensive range of teaching resources, you can educate your pupils to become "Sun Safe Superstars" and gain an award that your school can be proud of!

The Sun Safe Schools accreditation scheme has been developed by national skin cancer charity "Skcin" the first and most comprehensive initiative of its kind to launch across the UK.

The scheme is dedicated to preventing skin cancer through education and ensuring that children are adequately protected against the sun’s harmful rays both at school and at home.

HOW... will gaining an award benefit my school?

The scheme provides teachers with free policy information, resources and support materials to ensure that children are adequately protected from the damaging effects of the sun and learn how to enjoy the sun safely at an early age. It also provides useful information that extends to the parents and families of your pupils to ensure that the sun safe message is reinforced at home.

Gaining a Sun Safe award for your school will illustrate to parents and interested bodies that you are prepared to go that extra mile to ensure the health and wellbeing of children in your care. And, most importantly, by becoming a Sun Safe School, you can help to reverse the soaring rates of skin cancer in this country.

WHERE… can I sign up?

Simply visit where you can access a simple, four-step, interactive guide to the easy, hassle-free accreditation process. The website also includes a huge range of fun and engaging, curriculum linked resources with bespoke learning tools designed to engage young children, which feature fun ways to learn about sun safety including: Books, songs, worksheets, lesson plans, assembly plans and much more.

In addition, upon registering all schools will be sent "Sun Safe Superstar" stickers for each child, plus Sun Safety and skin cancer booklets and access to substantial discounts on quality sun protection items for parents.

WHY… is the scheme important?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with rates of the disease rising faster than any other cancer. Malignant melanoma – the deadliest form of the disease – is now one of the most common forms of cancer among young adults aged 15 to 34. Yet, with the appropriate education, skin cancer is almost entirely preventable, as over 80 per cent of all cases are caused by over-exposure to UV!

Children spend almost half their childhood at school/nursery, with approximately eight hours per week spent outdoors. During the hotter months of the year, children are exposed to UV radiation from the sun, much of which is at times when UV penetration is at its strongest. Without adequate protection, a child’s delicate skin can burn within minutes, causing irreparable damage and increasing their risk of developing skin cancer in later life.

WHAT… about Vitamin D?

It is common knowledge that we need the sun to survive and that some sun is definitely good for us. However, the fact is that over-exposure to UV is highly damaging to our skin and with skin cancer rates continuing to massively increase, it is vital to strike a balance.

“15 to 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, without skin reddening or burning, per day should be sufficient for most people to produce the required vitamin D levels,” says Professor Andrew Wright, Consultant Dermatologist, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


• One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma in later life.
• The majority of an individual’s life time exposure to UV occurs before the age of 21.

This is why we desperately need to ensure our children are protected and educated on sun safety in order to halt the alarming rate and rising incidence of skin cancer in the UK.


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