Children have been coming home sunburnt after school teachers refuse to apply sun cream

16 July 2019, 14:02

Children have been left sunburnt
Children have been left sunburnt. Picture: Getty
Mared Parry

By Mared Parry

Furious parents have started a petition against the school after their children were left unprotected from the sun.

Welsh parents are furious with teachers as they claim they're banned from applying sun cream to their children as they're afraid of receiving a child abuse accusation.

Different rules and regulations surrounding the application of sun cream in schools are leaving families frustrated as they don't know where they stand and children are being left unprotected from the sun's harmful rays.

Rules surrounding sun cream vary so much from school to school
Rules surrounding sun cream vary so much from school to school. Picture: Getty

One parent has launched a petition in hopes it will change the rules surrounding this, as the blazing heatwave Britain's briefly experience is only set to get worse, meaning that it's necessary.

READ MORE: Parents lose £200 after being made to purchase laptops for kids by school

Leigh O'Connor is the man behind the petition, and parents all over Wales are signing their names after children have been returning home sunburnt as a result of teachers refusing to apply the SPF or even banning children from bringing in their own cream to apply.

Caerphilly-based Leigh explained that the driving force behind his petition was the weather: "It started up recently with the hot weather. It seems to be that every school has a different policy.

"My son's school doesn't allow it [bringing in sun cream]. It's a bit of a nightmare, really.

"I have had quite a lot of feedback from other parents - one mum told me there were three incidents where her child burned before the school changed policy".

Teacher have been refusing to apply SPF
Teacher have been refusing to apply SPF. Picture: Getty

His petition will go to the Welsh Assembly where it'll hopefully discuss and implement some changes in the schools' rules.

It reads: "All children are at risk when in school or on school trips of sunburn. This not only has short term health issues but also long term such as skin cancer.

"This could easily be avoidable by allowing schools to apply sun cream with parents' consent.

"There are many options for this that do not involve the teachers having to touch the children if this is an issue."

David Evans, who is the Wales Secretary for the NUT said that if schools were to allow teachers to apply sun cream, it should only be to the face, neck and arms.

Kids aren't allowed the help of a teacher
Kids aren't allowed the help of a teacher. Picture: Getty

He added: "Each school should have a policy on the administration of sunscreen, which encourages parents and carers to provide children with their own, as well as encouraging them to provide children with suitable long-sleeved clothing and wide-brimmed hats.

"Our members can apply sunscreen in certain circumstances, but this will be with written permission from parents and a suitable risk assessment carried out.

"Children can have allergies or intolerances to certain products, which we would be keen to avoid."

A Flintshire council spokesman said: "Schools will usually work on the basis that if a child brings in sun cream, it is for them to apply themselves and not a member of staff."

However, parents aren't happy with this and are wanting to see a change as soon as possible.

Caitlin Sandford from Aberystwyth has psoriasis on her hands which means she cannot apply sun cream to her son and he came home sunburnt as a result.

She said: "I took some into school but the teachers said they could not apply it and my son would have to apply it himself.

"Apparently he didn't even have help since he came back with sunburn on the back of his neck.

"I understand being worried about allergies but if you provided the sun cream and your child has trouble putting it on, a teacher should help.

"Especially considering sun cream probably won't be very effective at lunch break if it was applied at 8.30 in the morning."