Parents in uproar as school bans sun cream

PUBLISHED: 18:23 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 21:48 31 May 2010

Children not allowed to wear sunscreen at RAButler School.
Saffron Walden.
July 01, 2009.
Photograph by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows: Catriona; mother of children who ahve been told they can not wear sunscreen.
Name: Catriona Hoy.

Children not allowed to wear sunscreen at RAButler School. Saffron Walden. July 01, 2009. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Catriona; mother of children who ahve been told they can not wear sunscreen. Name: Catriona Hoy.

A SAFFRON Walden is feeling the heat for banning its children from taking in their own sunscreen. RA Butler has been criticised for their no-sunscreen approach in a week when temperatures in the region are set to top the 30C mark. But one Saffron Walden m

A SAFFRON Walden is feeling the heat for banning its children from taking in their own sunscreen.

RA Butler has been criticised for their no-sunscreen approach in a week when temperatures in the region are set to top the 30C mark.

But one Saffron Walden mum Catriona Hoy, who learned of the situation through her nine-year-old daughter Kiera, is disappointed with the school's policy.

Mrs Hoy said: "My daughters have come home from school on several occasions with sunburn. I gave my youngest daughter sunscreen but was then informed that I could not do so.

"Given the increasing danger of sun damage and skin cancer I find the school's position on this untenable."

One of the main reasons for the school's stance is a fear that children will share their sunscreen with others who are allergic.

But Mrs Hoy, whose other daughter Caitlyn, 11 also attends the school, said: "This perceived threat is seen as being greater than the very real danger of skin damage. The school has not banned bread, although some children are wheat intollerant.

"These children know not to share other children's lunches, just as children would know not to share sunscreen if they were told to do so by the school and their parents."

She added: "My children have been taught to apply their own sunscreen from an early age. I don't have time to go into the school to apply it for them - but I don't expect the teachers to have to do it either. Children should be taught to protect themselves."

Essex County Council confirmed that sunscreen policy is very much up to the individual school; other primary schools in the town have not banned sun cream.

However, RA Butler headteacher Gayle Mawson stressed the school's concerns about allergies and said that the prospect of staff applying the use of sunscreen to its 550 pupils "presents logistical and sensitivity problems".

She added: "We take the health and well-being of our children very seriously and ask parents to send their children in with hats and to apply sunscreen to their children before they come to school, recommending that they use one that will last for up to 12 hours.

"We are fortunate in having outside areas shaded by large leafy trees and all our children are encouraged, while they are outside during the school day, to seek shade, to wear hats and drink lots of water.

"We believe that if parents apply sunscreen at home then they are in control of the situation and we feel that that is what most parents would want.


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