Sun exposure in childhood and adolescence greatly increases the chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
The SunSmart Schools program aims to minimise student and staff exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at school and during school-associated activities. To learn more click on the headings below:
- What is a SunSmart School?
- Why become a SunSmart School?
- Why join the program rather than go it alone?
- Developing a SunSmart School policy
- Become a SunSmart School or renew your membership
Check our SunSmart Schools listing to find out if your school is a current SunSmart School.
What is a SunSmart School?
A SunSmart School is a school that has registered with Cancer Council WA and has met criteria to reduce exposure to UV radiation. These criteria are:
- Most or all students wear sun protective hats (not peaked caps) year round, or when the UV Index is 3 and above. Students without hats are required to stay out of direct sunlight.
- Sunscreen is available throughout the school and its use encouraged.
- Outdoor events are rescheduled to avoid peak UV times when possible.
- Sun protection is encouraged through teacher and parent role modelling and classroom activities.
- The school uniform/dress code includes sun protective items (e.g. shirts with collars, longer sleeves).
- The school has a sun protection policy that meets Cancer Council WA criteria. A template policy is available here.
Why become a SunSmart School?
Schools, in partnership with families and their communities, have an important role in reducing sun exposure because:
- Schools have a duty of care to protect students and staff from harm. A sun protection policy can assist schools to meet this obligation.
- The crucial period for sustaining damage from sun exposure occurs during the school years.
- Children are at school during peak UV radiation times five days a week.
- Schools can influence sun protection behaviours through education.
- Sun protection policies can be included in existing health policies.
If your school becomes a SunSmart School, Cancer Council WA provides you with the following FREE resources:
- a SunSmart Schools metal fence sign
- curriculum resources, activities, posters etc
- parent education materials
- advice on health promotion strategies including policy development
- SunSmart talks to parents, staff and students.
Plus, the SunSmart Schools program is FREE to join.
Why join the program rather than go it alone?
- Peace of mind – Cancer Council endorsement of your policy and procedures lets you know you have it right.
- Comprehensiveness – have you thought of everything? There is much more to sun protection than a No Hat No Play rule.
- Current information – access accurate, current information on sun protection issues such as sunscreen allergies, nanoparticles, vitamin D, occupational safety and health and duty of care.
- Support – you get information about how other schools have dealt with particular problems, free teaching resources, access to competitions and discounts on sun protection items at the Cancer Council shop.
- Advocacy – Cancer Council speakers can talk to parents and staff about the risk of skin cancer and the value of good sun protection polices and procedures.
- Critical mass – formally joining the program allows Cancer Council to count your school in the program membership. In turn, higher participation rates add weight to our representations to the Department of Education, helps convince other schools to join the program and demonstrates your commitment to reducing the burden of skin cancer in the community.
Apply to become a SunSmart School or renew your membership
Becoming a SunSmart School is easy, simply:
- Review the Best Practice Guidelines for WA Schools.
- Develop a sun protection policy or update the existing one. Template sun protection policies are available to download.
- Fill out the application form online or print the SunSmart Schools application form (pdf, 866kb). For information on details we collect, please see our Privacy Collection Statement.