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More primary schools sign up to be ‘Sun Safe’

23 May 2018

Almost 20 schools in Jersey are now registered as ‘Sun Safe’ Primary schools following a major drive to prevent skin cancer through education. 

With temperatures due to rise again in Jersey this week, alongside high UV levels, officials behind the Sun Safe scheme are urging more primary schools to sign up to ensure that all children stay safe in the sun. 

The scheme, run by Skcin, The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, in the UK, is aimed at promoting positive sun safe messages to children and ensure that they are fully protected against the sun’s harmful rays. 

It is the first and only initiative of its kind to launch across the UK and has seen more than 3,700 schools sign up to the scheme. 

The process of gaining a Sun Safe School status involves working through these four steps to achieve certain goals supported by downloadable materials:

  1. advising the school community about a robust sun safe policy including using sunscreen, sun hats with teachers and parents acting as role models.
  2. looking for ways to provide shade in outside play areas and providing sun safe booklets for children’s school bags to help educate parents about the risks of UV.
  3. focusing an assembly on sun safe messages
  4. focusing lesson plans on sun safety 

Schools in Jersey who have achieved accreditation so far are Springfield, Rouge Bouillon, St Saviour, First Tower, St John, Bel Royal, Trinity, St Peters, St Clements St Lukes, Grouville, and St Martin’s, La Moye, Mont Nicolle, St Mary’s and Plat Douet are all working towards the award this year and have started work towards their sun safe status this term. 

The Jersey Cancer Trust have funded the registration fee for a number of schools and are also planning to sponsor the provision of some hats for each of those schools.

Martin Knight, Director of Public Health Policy, said: “Young children’s skin is particularly delicate and research tells us that sunburn in childhood increases the risk of skin cancer in later life. Children are at school five out of seven days a week at times when UV rays are high and can spend an average of 1.5 hours outside per school day. Schools already do a lot and all schools have sun safe policies already. However the extra focus on sun safe behaviours supported across the school community through this programme helps increase children and families awareness.”

This month the Co-op has organised six school assemblies where they have spoken about the importance of using sun screen as well as understanding the best way to have fun on hot, sunny days while staying hydrated and looking after your skin. 

On Friday, they held an assembly at St Martin’s School and Headteacher Jenny Posner, said: “The assembly was informative, fun and engaging. We are delighted to sign up to this scheme to ensure that our school children are adequately protected on the damaging effects of the sun and learn how to enjoy the sun safely at an early age.”

Sara Kynicos, Superintendent Pharmacist at Channel Islands Co-operative Society, added: “As a community retailer, whose business extends to pharmacies and medical care, we are delighted to be involved with the Sun Safe School scheme again this year. It is really valuable for the community to come together to support this great initiative as we understand that the earlier a child is taught about sun protection the better.”

And Marie Tudor, Business Development Manager for Skicn added: “Skcin are delighted that schools in Jersey wish to support our Sun Safe Accreditation. The scheme goes from strength to strength, every year with increased registrations from schools and nurseries and workplaces. Education of sun awareness is key. By schools adopting the scheme we are driving a cultural change with the next generation and also mitigating future healthcare costs and ultimately saving lives.”

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