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New Sun Safety Resources Available for NSW Teachers

School teachers in NSW can now utilise a new suite of interactive skin cancer prevention resources to help educate primary and secondary school students about the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.

Research has shown that secondary school students put themselves at risk of developing skin cancer more than any other age group. Students aged 12-17 in NSW are more likely than any other age group to get sunburnt, which is strongly associated with an increased risk of skin cancer, and are least likely to wear protective clothing, sunglasses or a sun-safe hat.

Two-thirds of Australians are likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, but the disease is highly preventable.

The Sun and UV at School classroom resources, the first of their kind in the country, were developed by the Cancer Institute NSW in partnership with the NSW Department of Education and other education and health sector organisations including SunSmart.

They provide students with the latest information on sun protection in a contemporary and engaging way and assist them to make healthy, safe and proactive choices to reduce their risk of skin cancer.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said it is important for children and young people to learn about the risks associated with sun exposure early so they can create good habits as they move through life.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and melanoma is the most common cancer affecting young Australians aged 15-24,” he said.

“We want students to learn about the dangers of sun exposure, but we also want them to know how easy skin cancer is to prevent. It starts with practising sun-safe behaviours at school.”

The evidence-based resources are aligned to the objectives, content, skills and outcomes of the NSW PDHPE and Science K-10 syllabuses and are flexible and easy for teachers to use. They include grab-and-go activities, complete units of work, individual lessons, animations, infographics and links to data repositories.

Teachers can identify, adapt and use what they need for lesson plans to suit teaching styles, learning environments and student needs.

The resources are also linked to the Australian curriculum where relevant so that they can be used by teachers and schools in other states and territories.

NSW Department of Education Deputy Secretary, School Performance, Murat Dizdar said that teachers play a crucial role in instilling health and wellbeing as a priority among students.

“Teachers can inspire the next generation of Aussie kids to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun. We want NSW students to be active and conscious participants in making decisions that safeguard their health and for that reason, the NSW Department of Education is proud to support this initiative,” Mr Dizdar said.

Teachers can download the new Sun and UV at School resources at www.cancer.nsw.gov.au/sun-school

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