Tampons, sanitary towels and other products of the period will be made available free of charge to all state schools and colleges in England starting next week, with the launch of a program funded by the Department of Education.
The pattern follows the government’s commitment last year to pay for primary and secondary school health care products in an attempt to address “poverty of the period,” which can cause girls from low-income families to fail.
“We know that it is not easy for everyone to access the products of the period when and when they need them. This scheme will address these problems so that young people can face their daily lives without being discovered,” said Michelle Donelan, minister of children and families.
The DfE said that the scheme was designed “to allow pupils easy access to periodic products at school or college”, as well as to reduce stigmas and raise awareness of menstruation.
Amika George, founder of Free Periods who started campaigning to end poverty in 2017, said: “We ask schools to converse openly with students about what they need and to start enrolling in the program: no children. must lose.
“Free products in schools will ensure that every child can learn and be the best, with no periods holding them back.”
A recent survey found that 42% of 14-14 year olds in the UK said they had used improvised health protection, with some claiming to have used socks, other fabrics or paper as emergency substitutes.
Rosamund McNeil, the assistant secretary general of the National Education Union, said that more than 137,000 pupils lost school in 2018 due to their period. “No girl in the UK should miss out on education because she can’t afford these essential products,” said McNeil.
The program is expected to cost up to £ 20 million this year for around 1.7 million students. From Monday, the staff will be able to order products from a commercial supplier, PHS group, which was awarded the contract by the DfE after a tender from last year.
The range available for over 20,000 schools and colleges includes environmentally friendly bearings and reusable products, the company said.
The government initially pledged to provide health care products to all state secondary schools and colleges in last year’s spring declaration. But coverage was extended after activists pointed out that menstruation started for many girls during the elementary school period.
Paul Whiteman, secretary general of the National Association of Head Teachers, applauded the government’s effort to extend the offering to all schools.
“We urge the government to monitor the new scheme carefully, so that if the usage numbers are initially low, more can be done to advertise the service and ensure that each student can access a periodic product that meets their needs,” Whiteman said.
The scheme in England follows a Scottish government’s 2018 revolutionary decision to fund free menstrual products for young people in schools, colleges and universities across Scotland, after a survey found that one in four struggled to get tampons or tampons.
The Welsh government followed last year, offering free products to all state schools and colleges. NHS England also announced that women and girls in the hospital will receive free health products on request.