The West

Students from junior, middle and senior school at Aquinas College will now have to wear heats for UV protection. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

One of Perth's most prestigious boys' schools has made hats mandatory for its senior students, sparking calls from the Cancer Council WA for other high schools to follow suit.

The "no hat, no play" rule has been in place in primary schools for years, but Aquinas College is one of the first schools to make hats compulsory for secondary students while they are on school grounds.

Current Year 12 students at the Salter Point school have been spared having to wear the navy broad-brimmed headwear, but all students will wear hats during terms one and four from next year.

Deputy headmaster Frank Norton, who led the push for compulsory hats, said they had launched a skin cancer education campaign at the school before making students wear hats from the start of this month.

Mr Norton said there had been little resistance to the move and encouraged other schools to introduce similar policies.

"It has been easy here," Mr Norton said.

"It's a single-sex school.

"It's not a fashion parade. One in every two Australians has some issue with skin cancer at some time in their life. That's a bullet that's hard to dodge.

"Our motivation is all about the wellbeing of the boys."

Year 11 student Will Ross, 16, said many students had not welcomed the change at first, but they later accepted that the hats protected them from the sun and everybody had to wear them.

"It took people a couple of weeks and we got used to it," Will said.

Kaine Latta, 16, said he knew how important sun protection was because his father had suffered from skin cancer.

Cancer Council WA SunSmart manager Kerry O'Hare said students at all high schools in Perth should be encouraged to wear hats because of the high UV level for most of the year.

Ms O'Hare said that it was disappointing the valuable lessons in sun safety children learnt during their primary school years were often not followed through in high school.

"They are at school during peak UV times," Ms O'Hare said.

"As with any change it takes time to settle in, but ultimately what they are doing is protecting their kids and reducing their risk of developing skin cancer later in life."

The West Australian

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