SCHOOLS across West Dunbartonshire will be encouraged to raise awareness of the importance of sun safety following the recent heatwave across the country. 

Overexposure to UV is a serious health risk and the primary cause of skin cancer – there are on average 16,700 cases in the UK every year. 

And with June 2023 set to be the hottest on record in Scotland, and concerns that global warming means similar extended heatwaves are more likely in future, the issue of teaching children about taking care when out in the sun has become more important.

A motion by SNP councillor Gordan Scanlan calling on schools to sign up to the free Sun Safe accreditation programme and teaching children about the dangers of overexposure to UV light was passed unanimously by members. 

The Sun Safe schools national accreditation scheme is described as the UK’s most comprehensive resource to assist primary schools in creating a suitable sun safety policy, communicating with parents to raise awareness and gain support from the wider school community and educating pupils on the importance of sun safety and ultimately, save lives.

In his motion, councillor Scanlan said: “Council recognises that this month has seen a period of extreme hot weather and that it’s more important than ever for children to recognise the potential dangers posed by the sunlight, and that schools and nurseries taking part in the sun life campaign would benefit from it.”

Speaking about his motion, councillor Scanlon said it was likely the council would witness more periods of hot weather.

He explained: “I think one of the reasons this is so important is with global warming, it is probable that we will have more periods like we have seen earlier this month, where you don’t see a jacket for about four weeks which is unusual in our climate.

“It is really important that our children and everyone is educated on the dangers of this when you consider the hazards. 

“Another point to consider is this accreditation programme is for schools but one of the reasons I think it is so important to teach this in media channels is because the schools are finished and are not back until August so it is important that we can get this out through the media.

“I think this motion is important and I hope you support it.”