Stop- before you apply
Before your school applies for national SunSmart status please search and view your school's name on our ACT SunSmart Schools Database to see if it is already an active member of Cancer Council's National SunSmart Schools Program here.
A little background first - why bother?
A healthy balance of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure is important for general health. Too much UV from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage, eye damage and skin cancer. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Two in three Australians will develop some form of skin cancer before they are 70.
Over-exposure to UV during childhood and adolescence is a major contributing factor of skin cancer, including melanoma, later in life. A combination of sun protection behaviour is recommended when UV levels reach three (3) and above. In Canberra average UV levels are 3 and above for part or most of each day from August to May. During the daylight saving period (ie Term 1 and 4) it is important to take extra care between 11am – 3pm when UV levels reach their peak, schools should aim to minimise outdoor activities and events during this peak UV period.
Too little UV from the sun can lead to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D regulates calcium levels in the blood. It is also necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy bones, muscles and teeth. Around the June and July winter period in Canberra, average UV levels remain low (below three) so sun protection isn’t usually required during school times during this period unless spending extended periods outdoors.
A vitamin D tip: including calcium in your diet plus daily physical activity in the middle of the day during this "low" UV period of the year will assist the body with vitamin D production.
Children attend school 5 days a week (during daily UV peak periods) making schools an important part of delivering this balanced approach and education between UV exposure, sun protection and vitamin D.
OK, let's get started
Know Your School's SunSmart Responsibilities
If your school is awarded national SunSmart status, you will be promoting the Cancer Council’s SunSmart messages in your daily activities and providing a role model for other schools throughout Canberra. Canberra primary schools participating in the National SunSmart Schools Program must agree to the following terms and conditions:
- To enforce their sun protection policy as documented
- To take reasonable steps to ensure that all staff, students and families are aware of the sun protection policy and its requirements
- To inform Cancer Council ACT of any changes to your policy and practices and anything else that may relate to or affect its inclusion in the National SunSmart Schools Programs.
Your school agrees to comply with the following SunSmart minimum standards:
- Sun protection measures are used from August to May whenever the UV Index level reaches 3 and above.
- Outdoor times are minimised as much as reasonably practicable between 11am and 3pm during daylight saving time/summer (ie Terms 1 and 4).
- A combination of sun protection measures are considered when planning ALL outdoor activities. (e.g. recess, camps, excursions, sporting events, swimming carnivals etc).
- The school has sufficient shade or is working toward increasing the number of trees and shade structures so as to provide adequate sun protected areas in the grounds.
- Students are encouraged to use available areas of shade for outdoor activities, especially during Terms 1 and 4.
- Students who do not have appropriate hats or sun protective clothing are directed to play in the shade or a suitable area protected from the sun.
- Appropriate sun protective clothing is included in the school uniform / dress code (inc sports uniform and swimming).
- When UV levels are 3 and above ALL students (and teachers) wear a broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat.
- The use of wrap-around sunglasses that meet Australian Standard 1067 (Sunglasses – Category 2, 3 or 4) is encouraged.
- The use of SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen is encouraged
- Where practicable students are given daily opportunities and reminders to apply sunscreen Ie before lunch and PE.
- Sunscreen is easily accessible for all students and workers Ie In most, if not ALL classrooms.
- All workers are required (under WH&S) to reduce their risk of Occupational UV Exposure when working outdoors (and act as positive SunSmart role models in doing so).
- During the June and July winter period sun protection will not be enforced.
- Programs on SunSmart messages are included in the curriculum/learning outcomes for all year levels. Ie Kidskin
- Positive SunSmart behaviour is regularly reinforced and promoted to the whole school community (eg. via newsletters, assemblies, website etc).
- The school considers displaying the SunSmart Widget on its website to assist teachers and students with daily sun protection times.
- Teachers are actively encouraged to choose Generation SunSmart as one of their TQI Teacher Identified Activities.
- The school submits a copy of its UV Protection Policy at least once every three (3) years to Cancer Council ACT. The school monitors its compliance with its policy and works toward improvement where necessary.
Once your school has been awarded national SunSmart status it becomes an active member of the National SunSmart Schools Program, your school has therefore agreed to participate in a SunSmart policy and program review every 3 years and to update its policy and practices if necessary to maintain the above standards. Your school will aim to set high national SunSmart standards for other schools to follow.
Failing to take part in the SunSmart review process will result in your school’s national SunSmart status being suspended until further notice, your school will also be politely asked to remove its SunSmart sign from being displayed at the entrance of the school.