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SunSmart schools and early childhood programs

National SunSmart Schools ProgramSunSmart logo

Students are in school when daily ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels are at their peak, meaning schools are uniquely placed to educate about sun protection behaviour, minimise UVR exposure and ultimately reduce a student’s lifetime risk of skin cancer. All Northern Territory primary schools are encouraged to join the nationally recognised SunSmart Schools program. 

In April 2016, all Northern Territory government schools and approved education and care services (including preschools and out-of-school-hours care services) were mandated to develop and implement Sun Safety Policy along with sun protective school uniform and dress codes, to prevent students being harmed through excessive exposure to extreme heat and ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation).

Cancer Council launched the National SunSmart Schools program in 1998. Today it is offered to all primary schools nationwide.

In order to receive SunSmart status and recognition, primary schools must:

  • have a written sun protection policy meeting minimum standards relating to curriculum, behaviour and the environment
  • be working to increase shade
  • reschedule/minimise outdoor activities during peak UV periods of the year
  • teach, model and reinforce positive sun protection behaviour
  • agree to undertake periodic policy reviews with its state or territory Cancer Council and update their policy accordingly to meet SunSmart standards.

Evidence suggests that childhood exposure to UV radiation contributes significantly to the development of skin cancer in later life. Educating school children and reducing their UV exposure is expected to have a major impact on the future incidence of skin cancer in Australia.

Over-exposure during adulthood also increases the risk of skin cancer. It is equally important that all teachers and staff members are aware of their own occupational UV exposure and protect themselves by adopting a combination of sun protection when UV levels reach 3 and above.

How to become a SunSmart school

Becoming a SunSmart school is simple. Membership is free and lasts for three years. Schools fill out an application form, attach their current sun protection policy and send it to:

Cancer Council NT 
PO Box 42719
Casuarina NT 0811

or email to

Application forms and policy templates below.

For some fun activities and resources for children see our Primary School Resource and more on SunSmart Resources page. 

SunSmart school kids

National SunSmart Early Childhood Program

Early childhood services across the Northern Territory can also be awarded SunSmart status and acknowledged for their past and ongoing efforts around skin cancer prevention. Membership is free and lasts for three years.

How to become a SunSmart centre

Becoming a SunSmart service is easy. Simply fill out an Early Childhood Program Application Form, attach the service's current sun protection policy and send it to:

Cancer Council NT 
PO Box 42719
Casuarina NT 0811

or email to

Download application forms and policy templates below.

For some fun activities and resources for children see our SunSmart Resources page.

SunSmart Early Childhood Program

Secondary Schools and Colleges

Currently the National SunSmart Schools program is only offered to secondary schools in Western Australia and Victoria . However, all Northern Territory secondary school communities are encouraged to develop and implement a sun protection policy or plan to continue from primary in reducing their UV exposure and minimise the long-term risk of skin damage among students.

For some fun activities and lessons for students see our Real Stories: Secondary School Resource and more on SunSmart Resources page.

SunSmart Secondary Schools Program

For further information about the SunSmart Program please email:

This page was last updated on: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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