Cornwall has the highest level of UV in the UK and the highest skin cancer rate in the country. Between 2003 and 2005 cases of malignant melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) in Cornwall rose by 18% (Royal Cornwall Hospital, 2007).
A major cause of skin cancer is over exposure to the sun during adolescence and childhood years. Britain now has more deaths from skin cancer than Australia. (Royal Cornwall Hospital, 2007).
Pupils spend on average 200 days per year at school, that's 5 days a week during peak UV times (11-3) . Whilst at school many spend a lot of time outside (walking to and from school, waiting for buses, break, lunch, queueing for lessons, trips, sports days etc.)
In some areas in Cornwall children and adults can be burned in under 10 minutes due to high levels of UV. These times are generally between 11am and 3pm, primarily between the months of May – September.
A SunSafe policy ensures a healthier working/teaching environment with long term health benefits. Schools are encouraged to minimise the exposure of staff and students to excessive dangerous UV radiation.
Schools can choose to focus on Sun Safety as their Healthy Schools Plus project . Click here for more information and case studies from Cornwall Healthy Schools.