Don't get burnt by sun-safety policy

4th September 1998 at 01:00
The Health Education Authority is absolutely right to promote sun safety in schools. All schools should have a sun-safety policy.

Like other health and safety issues, there needs to be a risk assessment. How often and for how long are pupils likely to be directly exposed to the sun? What natural shade is available? Is there any constructed shade available?

The Local Government Association is correct to say that most schoolchildren are capable of applying sunscreen products themselves. Sadly the association is also correct to highlight the enormous problem of teachers being falsely accused of physical andor sexual abuse.

The issue of sunscreen is only one aspect of a school sun policy. Schools should consider the safest arrangements for outdoor PE, sports day and trips. There should be a policy on hats and clothing as well as sunscreens. Parents, governors and staff all need to be on board.

Teachers are genuinely concerned about physical contact with pupils. A false allegation of abuse can destroy a teacher. In law, guilt has to be proved. In reality, a teacher falsely accused has to prove innocence. This should not be the way.

David Brierley Solicitor Professional Association of Teachers Friar Gate, Derby

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today