Primary school children are coming home sunburnt because schools are banning teachers from applying sun cream.
Thousands of children are being burned because teachers are too afraid to put sun lotion on pupils for fear of being opened up to accusations of child abuse.
And a Doncaster headteacher has said there is a "stigma" to teachers' applying lotion directly to children's skin.
Park Primary School head Karen Fagg said: "There is huge stigma attached to teachers applying sun lotion directly to children’s skin.
"We therefore rely heavily on verbal instructions given in the classroom, which can be challenging when dealing with young children.
"If we don’t feel a child is adequately protected from the sun, we’ll remove them from that situation entirely."
Touching pupils, such as to apply sun cream or offer a reassuring hand, is not banned under government rules, with the official guidelines stating there are occasions "when physical contact... with a pupil is proper and necessary."
But in practice, many schools discourage teachers from touching pupils with controversial ‘no touch’ policies.
A survey of 2,000 parents found 1 in 5 children had returned home from school or nursery with sunburn during the summer months, with one third of them being sunburnt at least once a week during the summer months.
The research was conducted by Garnier Ambre Solaire ahead of Sun Awareness Week, starting yesterday.
It has partnered with the British Skin Foundation to raise awareness of the impact of children not being adequately protected from the sun, whether at school or home with its Wrap Splat Hat campaign.
Matthew Patey, British Skin Foundation CEO said: ‘Being aware of sun protection is an essential life skill all children need to be educated in.
'Sunburn can cause serious long term damage but suitable clothing such as hats, sunglasses and long sleeved t-shirts, alongside frequent application of sun lotions and sprays, greatly minimises the risk.
'Parents, teachers and suncare brands all play a key role in making this process as easy as possible for children.’
Garnier Ambre Solaire said there was ‘confusion of responsibility’ between teachers and parents on the application of sun lotion.
Nearly half of parents (46%) said they felt the responsibility of protecting kids from harmful SPF and UV rays at school should be shared between both parent and teacher.
Nearly two thirds of parents (64%) said their children either know nothing about correctly applying sun lotion, or need extra help with the process; yet teachers are often left powerless to get involved in the physical application.