1) Increase the amount of shade at your school- natural and man made.
Creating an environment that passively supports sun protection may be the best approach for secondary schools. Schools can first consider improving areas of existing shade
, for example, by improving ground cover or providing seating. When planning to create more shade
, schools should observe where students congregate (e.g., basketball courts and ovals). Students will stay in the shade if it is provided in areas where they like to hang out. Schools can choose to plant trees
, build permanent shade structures or purchase portable shade. A cost-free option for schools is to allow students to be in an indoor area during breaks (if increasing the number of staff
supervisors is possible).
ACT secondary schools are encouraged to conduct a free online shade audit
Start planting shade trees for the future.
2) Develop a sun protection plan or policy for your school
Cancer Council can assist schools in creating a sun protection plan or policy. Schools can consider continuing some of the elements from primary school sun protection policies that students are already familiar with. Gathering input from staff members, students and parents will increase the amount of support from the school community when implementing a policy. Include a plan for how and when new strategies will be introduced and enforced, and schedule a regular review process for the policy (e.g., every two years). Ensure that the finalised policy or plan is well communicated to staff members, students and parents and positively promoted, ie via the school newsletter, website and teacher meetings etc
TIP: Download UV Risk Reduction- A Planning Guide For Secondary Schools
TIP: Submit a copy of your current policy to Cancer Council ACT to be reviewed.
TIP: Consider rescheduling PE classes, during Term 1 and 4, to not occur during the peak UV period of the day
3) Choose engaging activities to increase students’ knowledge and awareness the risks and benefits of sun exposure.
Schools can hold sun protection awareness days or include engaging activities in PE or health class to educate students about how, when and why they should protect themselves from the sun. Explore other disciplines that could also incorporate awareness raising activities and class-room discussion Eg: Science, Geography, Design and Architecture etc Activities to investigate may include photo-aging and UV photographic tools, UV levels, tanning and skin, social norms, town planning and fashion design etc.
Real life stories about individuals who have survived a skin cancer diagnosis or lost a loved one to skin cancer
are also likely to have an effect. CCACT can help schools access educational resources (e.g., Real life stories DVD and the Sun Camera class-room experience (N/A).
TIP: View Cancer Council ACT resources
TIP: Watch this space for the Cancer Council's new version of 'Real Stories about skin cancer and skin damage'
due out later in 2012.
4) Require staff members to model positive sun protection behaviours.
Schools can include modelling in their sun protection plan or policy. For example, if a school plans to introduce a “hats-on” policy, the first stage of implementation is for all teachers including PE teachers to begin wearing a hat, and adopting sun protection measures when UV levels reach 3 and above. Schools can discuss sun protection with older students and identify any that are willing to drive sun protection in the school and/or model for younger students to follow. Remember, under OH&S laws, all workers are required to protect themselves from forseeable harm in the workplace, this includes 'Occupational UV Exposure'.
TIP: Reinforce that 'caps' are not an option when it comes to headwear.
TIP: Upload the SunSmart Web Widget to your school's website.
5) Make sunscreen easily accessible for all staff members and all students
One way to increase the number of students using sunscreen is for teachers to have a bottle or pump pack in the classroom or on ground duty, encouraging/reminding students to apply. Teachers can also provide sunscreen at outdoor school events (e.g.,athletics and swimming carnivals), walking around and reminding students to apply.
Two barriers to this strategy include cost and student allergies.
TIP: Purchase SPF 30+ broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen and allocate "sunscreen application
spots" throughout your school. Monitor and evaluate. Sunscreen does not have to be expensive, shop around. Cancer Council ACT offers ACT secondary schools a 20% discount of their entire sunscreen range when purchasing directly from our Fairbairn shopfront. ACT schools can also purchase 'sunscreen wall brackets' from SunSmart for just $12.00 each (cost price).
6) Implement a 'hats-on' policy for certain times.
To reduce student resistance to wearing hats, include them in the process as much as possible. Consider allowing students to bring their own hat to school, as long as it fits width requirements. Students could also choose a school hat design, or schools can hold a hat design competition. Hats can be introduced in stages, and may be mandatory at all times, during peak UV periods (e.g., Term 1 and Term 4), and/or during PE classes. It is also important that all staff members are required to wear hats too if students are required to.