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Schools sun policy - am I wrong?

(336 Posts)
Originalfoogirl Tue 07-Jun-16 08:26:41

Before I speak to the school about their sun policy, I wanted to know if others think I'm taking an unreasonable stance.

As soon as it starts getting sunny, we get a text from the school reminding us to send our children wearing sunscreen. Fair enough, a reminder is good. I also send our girl with a bottle of suncream and remind her to re apply it - as per the advice from cancer research and sunsmart. All day sunscreen is not effective. Yesterday she said she got in to trouble for asking for help to do it and was told "you're supposed to put it on before you come to school". At 7 she can kind of do it herself, but her disability does cause her some problems putting it on.

I know it can be a faff for a teacher to put sunscreen on 30 kids and there aren't enough assistants, but just as they have to help the littles get help changing for PE and for using the toilet etc, but to me, sunscreen is just as basic. I have friends who have had skin cancer.

I think the school should have a policy on this and build it in to their day. Schools in Australia seem to manage and before anyone says it, our sun is just as dangerous to children as theirs is.

I know many people just don't see the importance of it for their children and don't appreciate the risks of burning, but should I take this up with the school or not?

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Tue 07-Jun-16 08:30:11

I agree with you.

It seems to be a faff inUK.

But it's easy in Australia and NZ (and indeed in UK if your teacher or TA is antipodean)

Rosa Tue 07-Jun-16 08:30:42

In our school, there are some fair skinned children ( we live in the med so loads of olive skinned as well). The kids that have sun screen get paired off and they have to help each other to do the bits they can't reach or tell the other where the white creamy bits are ! Here it is Not the norm though so there are only about 8 in the class that wear sun screen anyway !

JennyOnAPlate Tue 07-Jun-16 08:31:33

How much of the day is your dd actually outside?

Our school has the same policy but they are only outside for 15 mins at 10.30am and for 20 minutes at lunch time, so I think the policy is fine.

IthinkIamsinking Tue 07-Jun-16 08:32:11

I do wonder how the fuck myself and most of my generation survived childhood hmm

branofthemist Tue 07-Jun-16 08:32:21

We used to be asked to send their sunscreen in. This was then followed by complaints sun screen had gone missing, it had got on clothes and ruined it, one kid sprayed their on another and got it in their eye, one kids hadn't put it on properly, one kids had told the teacher he had put it on..but hadn't etc

General complaints in each class.

Tons of complaints surround it from parents, we now have the option of once a day stuff or going in and putting it on them at lunch.

All for the sake of between 10-20 minutes outside.

Quite honestly if parent complained less about the little things, teachers would spend more time teaching rather than sorting this stuff out and no one would care what your child had in their bag.

zzzzz Tue 07-Jun-16 08:32:27

sun is just as dangerous to children as theirs is.

Well that little hole in the ozone layer hanging over them probably makes the sun more of an issue there don't you think?

Would your Dd manage better with that suntan lotion you get on wipes? Just ask school if they can help her every day because she is struggling.

Motherfuckers Tue 07-Jun-16 08:32:43

I don't think it is feasible for staff to spend all that time applying sun cream to all children. Perhaps you could ensure she was better covered up? Sleeves/sun hat etc, then she only needs to apply to smaller areas.

albazavi Tue 07-Jun-16 08:33:23

They are probably trying to protect themselves. If the teacher applied the suncream and the child still got burnt, some parents could complain or might sue. Equally it becomes very difficult with the policy of hiw much you can touch a child (on the shoulder pretty much is the only thing that's ok). To rub suncream into a child's arms, legs etc could potentially be seen as crossing boundaries.

Whilst it seems overly protective, and 99.9% of parents would be fine with it and apply common sense, there will always be that 0.1%. If a complaint came through about inappropriate touching, it goes on a teacher's record forever.

So I can understand why the school have the policy for staff to not apply suncream. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. It doesn't seem fair for your dc, particularly if she struggles with doing it herself.

Has she got a reliable friend that she could get to help her?

AuntieStella Tue 07-Jun-16 08:34:19

OP specified 7 year olds, so the thread is about primary.

And many primaries have considerably longer breaks (I'd be really unhappy with ine that had only 20 minutes at lunchtime)

LittleLionMansMummy Tue 07-Jun-16 08:34:29

We're told not to send it in either, I gather because of the risk of allergies, but suspect it's more about application - some parents have issues with other people putting their hands on their children, so it's probably also to avoid 'misunderstandings'. I apply it in the morning and he hasn't yet got burned. I think schools are quite sensible about providing plenty of shade and would think the amount of time children actually spend in the sunshine is quite small (break times, lunch). I can see that applying suncream to 30 children would take time, so it seems reasonable that they ask parents to apply it at home. If your child is particularly sensitive to sun though (fair skin etc) then I'd speak to them and see if there's anything they can do.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 07-Jun-16 08:36:05

Policy is the same at my dc school and tbh it's fine for them. I put sunscreen on in the morning, factor 50, sunhat, and I do think that's enough protection for the day. They're only outside an hour or two in the day.

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Tue 07-Jun-16 08:36:28

"I don't think it is feasible for staff to spend all that time applying sun cream to all children."

Totally feasible in other locations. I think that was OP's point. UK is less capable when you make international comparisons.

YouMakeMyDreams Tue 07-Jun-16 08:38:18

For the whole length of time they are outside I use an all day one and keep as much of them covered while still comfortable as I can. They do have some in their bags the 5 year old struggles a bit but manages enough to top up if they are going out in the afternoon after lunch.
I can see why schools don't want to get involved in this tbh even ignoring the lack of time.

Motherfuckers Tue 07-Jun-16 08:38:46

Well I for one would prefer the staff to interact and supervise all children than spend time putting sun cream on each and every child. Especially when they could be wearing hats etc

LittleLionMansMummy Tue 07-Jun-16 08:39:19

Are uk class sizes bigger, with fewer assistants? Perhaps that's an issue here... just a thought.

almostthirty Tue 07-Jun-16 08:39:59

We have the same policy at our school but we are allowed to send it in but staff are not allowed to help apply, it is down to the cool kids.

OhTheRoses Tue 07-Jun-16 08:40:22

Morning break 15 mins, (not high sun), lunch break, 30 mins if they are lucky with dresses covering to the knee and rest if body and a hat, afternoon break 15 mins. Most days it will be partially cloudy, most days some of that time will be I the shade, mkst children aren't uber fair, sunscreen applied at 8am will still ne 40-60% effective at 4pm. This is in the UK.

Your children have a greater risk if vitamin d deficiency than skin cancer. You are being very, very, very unreasonable I my opinion.

Motherfuckers Tue 07-Jun-16 08:41:48

I lived in a hotter country when my kids were small, they play out much less during school hours. I would rather my children were outside.

alltouchedout Tue 07-Jun-16 08:44:54

I think if school tells you sunscreen is a must then school needs to realise that they will need to get involved in applying it- whether that's setting aside ten minutes for children to apply and help each other apply, or having staff help the children. If sunscreen is important enough that school have told parents it must be used then telling them that they should be"putting it on in the morning before you come to school" is not on.
I don't think they're actually out for long enough to burn anyway and it doesn't bother me, but it's such a mixed message.

Primaryteach87 Tue 07-Jun-16 08:47:01

Typically you have less staff at the times children are outside (teachers and TAs have to pee & eat at some point!). So it really isn't practical to help all the little ones. If your daughter has a disability, that is different.
Generally children are only outside for a short while. So if they are wearing sun team in the morning, have a hat etc it should be fine. I always wrote to parents and asked they provide hats (which I'm happy to nag/ remind about if I'm on duty!). We also had a classroom which had open fires to the playground, where children who were too hot could get some water and cool off.

Primaryteach87 Tue 07-Jun-16 08:47:37

^doors not fires!!

AuntieStella Tue 07-Jun-16 08:50:11

Aussie class sizes are capped at 26 for KS1 and 30 for KS2

Average size is 23.5, UK 20 (OECD stats 2013)

InternationalHouseofToast Tue 07-Jun-16 08:50:47

At our primary school the message is that you should put cream on them before school, not that children take sun lotion with them. I just use the bog standard cream and hope it stays on long enough, but I guess you could use the P20 stuff which is supposed to last longer.

I wouldn't send my 6 year old into school with a bottle of sun cream as a lot would be wasted and he wouldn't apply it properyl - at least if I do it at home I know he's had a decent coverage.

cdtaylornats Tue 07-Jun-16 08:51:00

open fires to the playground

Did you also have loads of catatonic Health and Safety inspectors?smile

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