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Case 290 - Schoolchildren told to wear long sleeves and hats to protect them from the sun

Issue

Schoolchildren have been told to wear long sleeves and hats in the playground during hot weather to protect them from sunburn. A school spokesman said the move was for health and safety reasons.

Panel decision

This is yet another example of the misuse of “health and safety” when the real issue is about teaching young people at an early age how to take sensible precautions on a long term public health risk that they will need to deal with throughout their lives. Insisting on long sleeves and hats isn’t very helpful or proportionate as some will find this very uncomfortable. There is plenty of advice available on a range of proportionate measures that schools can put in place – and these also make it clear that there is no legal obstacle to school staff helping children to apply sun screen.

2016-07-27