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SunSmart Schools

SunSmart Schools

The Cancer Society supports the SunSmart schools programme to create sun smart school environments in primary and intermediate schools.

Skin cancers are the most common form of cancers in New Zealand.  The incidence of melanoma skin cancer is among the highest in the world.

The SunSmart schools programme aims to: 

  • Ensure the school delivers a safe, SunSmart environment for students, teachers and the wider school community
  • educating tamiriki, their whānau and teachers about being SunSmart and  reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

The SunSmart schools programme endorses primary and intermediate schools that meet the programme’s minimum criteria for sun protection in schools.

It is voluntary, and around 36.9% of primary schools in New Zealand are SunSmart. Some schools may have sun protection policies and practices in place that we are not aware of.

To be accredited as SunSmart, schools must address:

  • Behaviour - use of sunhats, clothing, broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen
  • Environment – providing shade and encouraging its use
  • Curriculum – educating students about sun protection and skin cancer prevention 
  • Review – the School’s policy is reviewed at least every three years, and the community is updated.

In 2017, researchers from the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit at the University of Otago reviewed the SunSmart School programme on behalf of the Cancer Society.  In total, 1243 schools participated. 

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