Elements Primary School: Leeds parents 'baffled' at decision to ban sun cream at Middleton school

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Parents have complained at a Leeds primary school’s “baffling” decision to stop children from bringing in their own sun cream during the summer period.

Elements Primary School in Middleton told parents earlier this week not to allow children to bring in sun cream from next term, saying that it is “unsafe” due to them getting it into their eyes and applying too much.

The school also said that it is worried about pupils sharing sun cream with each other and some having “severe allergies” to it. It also said that staff can’t help pupils apply the cream “due to the massive impact this has on learning time and staffing constraints”.

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One parent with two children at the school said that he found the decision “really weird” and a “failure” on the school’s part to protect children.

Elements Primary School in Middleton (Photo: Google)Elements Primary School in Middleton (Photo: Google)
Elements Primary School in Middleton (Photo: Google)

He said: “With ever-increasing global temperatures, our children need to not only be educated on the risks of sun exposure, but should also be supported when attempting to keep themselves safe.”

The parent, who asked not to be identified, said: “My youngest is five and I send him in with a roll-on one and he can manage it. Of course they will have to help the odd but I would have thought that would be part of their remit as teachers.

“Rather than banning sun cream at school, I would suggest the school ought to not only be encouraging its use, but also providing sun cream for those who either forget or are from a family that may be struggling during the cost of living crisis."

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The school recommended that parents apply a 12-hour sun to children before classes, but the parent said: “It is recommended that sun cream is reapplied every two hours. The claimed effectiveness of 12-hour sun creams is, at best, debatable.”

He also said he felt it should be the school’s duty to educate students on how to apply sun cream and the “increased risks of sun exposure”. He added that other parents have raised similar concerns and said it was “urgent” the decision was reversed, saying: “It will take kids just five or 10 minutes to get burnt.”

In response to the complaints, Miss Green, the Executive Principal at Elements Primary School, said: “At this time of year, sun safety is carefully considered and we ask all parents to ensure their children are sent to school with hats and water and to apply a long lasting sun cream in the morning.”

She said that students are urged to make use of the shaded areas on site and that on the hottest days the school has playtime indoors.

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She said: "Ultimately, staying out of the sun when it is strongest is the safest way to protect our skin.

"We have to consider all impacts of sun cream in school and due to some of our pupils having severe allergies to sun cream and the significant logistical issues around application in the school day, we believe our approach of asking parents to apply sun cream before school is a sensible one.

"This is a common policy in many other schools. Of course, if a particular child has a specific need or medical issue that requires a different approach, we encourage parents to meet with us to discuss how we can help.”

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