How to become a SunSmart school

Steps to becoming a SunSmart school l Minimum criteria for accreditation l SunSmart policy l

Steps to becoming a SunSmart school

  1. Have a commitment to improving sun safety in your school community.
  2. Complete the online SunSmart Schools Accreditation Application to see how well your school is doing at meeting the Cancer Society's minimum criteria for accreditation. You will need your school's MoE number.
  3. Review your school sun safety policy. A sample policy is provided.
  4. Submit your sun safety policy online,


  5. After you have applied for accreditation your local Cancer Society health promoter will contact you.  They will advise you if there are areas to be included/amended in your policy to meet the minimum criteria for accreditation.  Once you have made any necessary changes, your policy can be resubmitted online.
  6. Gain accreditation! Once you have become accredited, you will receive a SunSmart Schools Accreditation Certificate, a sign for your school building or gate, and a media release for your local newspaper.

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Minimum Criteria for SunSmart Schools Accreditation 

  • The sun protection policy is implemented during terms 1 and 4, when ultraviolet radiation levels are most intense.
  • All staff, students and parents/caregivers are to be informed of the sun protection policy and its intended practices.
  • All students wear broad brimmed (minimum 7.5cm brim), legionnaire or bucket hats (minimum 6cm brim, deep crown) when outside.
  • Students not wearing a hat are required to play in allocated shade areas.
  • The use of broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen is encouraged.
  • The use of sun protective clothing is encouraged (eg sleeves and collars).
  • Staff are encouraged to act as role models by practicing SunSmart behaviours.
  • SunSmart education programmes are included in the curriculum at all levels every year.
  • The sun protection policy is reflected in the planning of all outdoor events (eg camps, excursions, sporting events).
  • Outdoor activities are rescheduled, whenever possible, to minimise time outdoors between 10am and 4pm.
  • The school has sufficient shade or is working towards increasing the number of trees and shade structures so as to provide adequate shade in the school grounds.
  • The Board of Trustees and Principal review the sun protection policy regularly, including making suggestions or improvements at least once every three years.

SunSmart policy

 A comprehensive sun protection policy for schools covers the following 4 areas:

  • Behaviour - reducing exposure to UV radiation eg through use of sunhats, clothing, broad spectrum SPF30+ sunscreen
  • Environment - promoting the provision and use of shade and rescheduling activities
  • Curriculum - educating about sun protection and skin cancer prevention
  • Policy review - undertaking review at least 3 yearly

A SunSmart Policy needs to:

  • be developed in consultation with the whole school community of BoT, staff, students, parents and caregivers.
  • outline the way in which the school will protect students and staff from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
  • meet the minimum criteria for SunSmart Schools Accreditation with regard to behaviour, curriculum, environment and policy review.

To help you develop a comprehensive Sun Protection policy a sample policy is available for download

word documentSample Policy (Word  89 kB)

Adobe pdfSample Policy (PDF 172 kB)

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Evaluation of your sun protection policy

  • The Cancer Society’s role is to encourage and assist schools to become sun safe, not to judge or compare progress with other schools.
  • The application form together with your school’s sun protection policy will help the Cancer Society assess your school’s existing sun protection strategies so as to assist schools to become accredited.
  • Not every strategy in the application form needs to be included in your policy. The assessment will be based on the minimum criteria for SunSmart Schools Accreditation

Working towards meeting the criteria for SunSmart Schools Accreditation

  • Some schools’ existing sun protection policy will already meet the criteria for SunSmart Accreditation.
  • Other schools may need to review their existing sun protection policy to meet the minimum criteria (or develop a new policy if they do not already have one). It is important that the whole school community is involved in the development of the policy so there is a commitment to it. For some schools it may take a period of time to develop a policy that covers all areas of the essential criteria. There is no time limit by which a school has to become accredited.

Who can help my school do this?

Contact your local Cancer Society centre to help you with your application and to develop a policy which meets the minimum criteria for SunSmart Schools Accreditation.

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