WA // Mixed SunSmart report card for WA primary schools
A new SunSmart survey has delivered a decent report card for Western Australian primary schools, but with comments that ‘more work needs to be done’ and ‘could do better with more
Cancer Council Western Australia has released the results of the 2017 National Primary School SunSmart Survey which show the majority of schools are ensuring students wear hats and have sun protective uniforms. However the survey has found the news is not so good when it comes to shade, sunscreen and teachers wearing hats.
More than half of WA Primary Schools say they don’t have enough shade, and nearly one in five schools say the cost of providing shade is a challenge.
Cancer Council WA SunSmart Manager Mark Strickland said it is encouraging to see an increase in the uptake of some sun protection practices such as hats and holding events indoors. “We’d like schools to work on improving sun safety by encouraging children to wear sunscreen. Children need reminding to apply sunscreen and can’t be relied on to remember themselves. We would like to congratulate the WA schools who have been working hard to improve sun safety. Their efforts are paying off and we’re starting to see a decline in skin cancer rates in young people.”
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure during childhood is a significant determinant of lifetime risk of skin cancer, with children receiving more UV exposure than adults. Today’s children have grown up with the SunSmart message and are our most sun savvy generation ever. Parents and teachers understand the importance of protecting children’s skin with rashies, hats, sunglasses, shade and sunscreen. However, it’s important that adults set a good example and protect their own skin too.
Toodyay District High School – part of the SunSmart Generation!
Toodyay District High School has begun implementing a comprehensive sun protection policy which actively protects students and staff from dangerous levels of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Principal Mr David Ball said that a new sun protective bucket hat will be introduced from Term 1 in 2018. This has been achieved by working with the P&C and School Council and having positive discussions with parents to make the transition easier. Student leaders were given an opportunity to discuss the introduction of school hats and the reversible hats proved popular. The reversible hats include the school colour and logo on one side and the student’s faction colour on the other.
Karen Hansen, Cancer Council WA’s Regional Education Officer in the Wheatbelt, said that the introduction of bucket hats is a step in the right direction to reducing students’ exposure to harmful UV rays. Karen is looking forward to working further with the school to assist in introducing other SunSmart strategies over time.
Mr Ball said that students, staff and parents were working together on sun protection with the aim of Toodyay District High School eventually becoming a registered SunSmart School. By teaching students how to protect themselves from the sun, the school is contributing to the fight against skin cancer.
For tips on how to introduce sun protective hats at your school, click here
For more on our network of Regional Education Officers, visit the Cancer Council WA website.