Guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) 2016 state in their recommendations for children and young people that;
Between March and October in the UK, children and young people need their skin protecting. They should cover up with suitable clothing, be encouraged to spend time in the shade (particularly between 11am and 3pm) and wear sunscreen.
The Guidelines go on to recommend;
Managers and staff in early years, education and leisure environments could develop a policy on how to protect children and young people’s skin when they are outside for more than a brief period in strong sunlight. This includes those working in preschool settings, primary and secondary schools.
A comprehensive policy would:
- Encourage children and young people to cover up with suitable clothing (including a wide-brimmed hat), to spend time in the shade and to wear sunscreen to protect themselves when the sun is strong.
- Encourage parents and carers to provide children and young people with suitable clothing, as well as sunscreen. Make it clear that spending time in the shade and wearing suitable clothing are as important as using sunscreen.
- Be consistent with child protection and safeguarding policies, for example, by specifying who should help children and young people cover up with suitable clothing or apply sunscreen, and when.
- Outline the need to take children and young people’s individual characteristics, for example, their skin type, into account. A range of charts are available, such as those produced by Cancer Research UK or and the British Association of Dermatologists.
- Raise awareness of the risks and benefits of sunlight exposure among children and young people, their parents and carers. For example, by making it clear that children and young people should never be allowed to burn and should be made aware of how important it is to protect their skin.
- Provide children and young people, their parents and carers with timely information (for example, during the spring and summer holiday season) on the risks and benefits of sunlight exposure in play and leisure environments.
It is also suggested that sun safety is addressed within the curriculum. The following links and websites will support with these recommendations.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that legislation does not prevent school staff from applying or helping pupils apply sunscreen. It adds that the Department for Education (DfE) has made it clear that schools are expected to take a sensible approach to this issue.
General advice on sun safety
NHS – Advice for adults and children on sunscreen and sun safety in the UK and abroad.
Advice for schools on developing a policy and approach to sun safety in school
Cancer Research UK – Sun Protection Guidelines for: Primary Schools
Sun Safe Schools – The Sun Safe Schools Accreditation Scheme has been developed by national skin cancer charity; Skcin. The key objective of the charity is to prevent skin cancer through education, promote early detection and reduce the soaring incidence rates in the UK. The website contains policy advice and support, materials to share with parents and curriculum resources.
National Union of Teachers – Health and safety briefing on sun safety for teachers and pupils.
The Teenage Cancer Trust provide resources and advice aimed at secondary age pupils.
Sun Safe Schools – curriculum resources for primary schools.