April 30, 2021
This year we are proud to be supporting UK charity Skcin. Skcin’s mission is to reverse the soaring rates of skin cancer for our future generations by educating and raising awareness on the subject of sun safety and the early detection of skin cancers in order to save lives. In schools they aim to plant the seeds of sun safety in primary education and in the hearts of communities nationwide.
210,000 cases of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is rising faster than any other cancer with 44 new cases every day. According to Cancer Research UK 1 in 34 UK males and 1 in 47 UK females will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime, and it’s now one of the biggest killing cancers in the 15-34 age group.
We want to do something about this, but creating greater shaded space in schools is only part of the battle. This is why for Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we are amplifying Skcin and Sun Safe Schools message across our channels to help more schools become sun safe.
Creating Sun Safe Schools!
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage accumulated during childhood and adolescence is strongly associated with an increased risk of skin cancer later in life. With the pandemic measures requiring pupils to spend more of the school day outdoors, an awareness of the risks relating to the particular sensitivity of young skin to sun damage and practical steps that should be taken to mitigate these risks is critical.
Five Rules for Sun Safety in Schools!
Around 90% of skin cancers can be avoided by adopting simple sun safe strategies and our schools play a key part in creating these lifelong and potentially lifesaving habits. For Sun Awareness Week we have created a FREE guide to help your school implement a sun safe strategy.
Take action to protect your pupils by following these five rules for sun safety:
Clothing can be one of the most effective barriers between our skin and the sun and should be considered the first line of defence. Check that your school’s uniform policy includes clothing that covers shoulders, but ideally as much skin as possible.
Tip! A closer weave fabric will provide better protection. A high UPF rated fabric provides best protection.
Ensure that students have access to a sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor of (SPF) 30 or above. Make sure it’s broad-spectrum and carries a UVA symbol (ideally labelled minimum 4 star). Apply a generous amount to clean, dry, exposed skin 20 minutes before going outdoors. Regardless of the instructions all sunscreens should be re-applied at least every 2 hours. An SPF 30+ lip balm will also protect lips while outside.
Tip! Many schools have installed sunscreen dispensers!
3) Sun Hat
Sun hats with a wide brim shades the face, neck, ears and cheeks. A close weave or UPF rated fabric will provide better protection.
Tip! Include a hat in your official school uniform.
Solar UV radiation can be damaging to the eyes, so encourage pupils to wear quality sunglasses. Look for the European CE mark, which indicates a safe level of protection.
Tip! Some schools have created a borrow and return scheme for sunglasses.
Shade can provide a great barrier between our skin and the sun. Pupils and teachers should be encouraged to spend time in the shade during breaks, lunches and while playing sport, particularly during peak UV hours 11am-3pm. Keep toddlers and babies in the shade at all times.
Tip! Consider installing UV blocking canopies on playgrounds, mutli-use games areas and over external dining areas to create external sun safe spaces.
Sign up to Sun Safe Schools Accreditation Programme
Under the new PHSE curriculum, English primary schools now have a statutory obligation to teach children about safe and unsafe exposure to the sun and how to reduce the risk of sun damage including skin cancer. Sun Safe Schools has developed an educational resource bank and sun safe national accreditation programme for primary schools and nurseries to help schools become sun safe.
Creating greater shaded space in schools
Versatile canopy structures are highly effective in the protection of students from sun damage year-round. Covered outside spaces create a shield barrier for large numbers of students at once, encouraging them into the shade on sunny days.
All Streetspace canopies and shelters are designed with cover systems that protect from the sun’s harmful UV rays and minimise the risk of sunburn for pupils and staff whether specified as polycarbonate, PVC tensile membrane or shade mesh fabric.
Streetspace shade structures
Our expert advisors are happy to help with your plans to create new shaded space for play, sport, dining and outdoor learning, advising on options to suit budget and capacity.
Email us at [email protected] or call us on 08450750760.