It’s time (of the month): Free period products for all schools and colleges

Period products on pink background
© iStock/Alexmia

The Department for Education launches a fully funded scheme to ensure free period products are available in all schools and colleges across England.

The scheme will give pupil’s peace of mind on their period and allow for easy access to whatever products they need. This will help to breakdown stigmas and ensure that no female’s education is disrupted by their period.

The schools and colleges across the country will be able to order a range of products from supplier phs Group. Which will allow these products to be readily available for when students need them.

Let’s remove the stigma

The introduction of the program follows the government’s commitment to completely fund period products for all state-funded schools and colleges. It also allows the department to support campaigns to remove the stigma around periods and raise awareness of menstruation, which was one of their ambitions highlighted last year.

Michelle Donelan, Children and Families Minister said: “Periods are a normal part of everyday life and we do not want young people missing out on lessons because of them. We know that it is not easy for everyone to access period products where and when they need them. This scheme will deal with those problems so young people can go about their daily lives without getting caught out if they have come on their period unexpectedly, forgotten to bring products with them or if they can’t afford the products they need.”

In September 2020, health education (including guidance on sex, relationships and health) will become a part of compulsory curriculum for all state-funded primary and secondary schools. The education will allow for young people to learn about living healthy lives, including menstrual wellbeing.

A £15m annual Tampon Tax Fund was introduced by the Government to support women’s charities. Additionally, the government has pledged to end period poverty globally by 2030.

Amika George, founder of #FreePeriods, said: “We have been waiting for this day for a long time! As a grassroots, student-led movement, Free Periods has been fighting for every single child in this country to be able to go to school without worrying about their next pad or tampon. For the first time in history, this scheme will ensure that becomes a reality.

“We ask that schools have open conversations with students about what they need and start signing up to the scheme – no child must miss out. Free products in schools will ensure that every child can learn and be their very best, without periods holding them back.”

Schools and colleges will receive an activation email from the phs Group on Monday 20 January which will enable them to order products for their organisation from the phs Group portal – a range of products will be available so that schools and colleges can offer choice to young people, including eco-friendly options.

David Taylor-Smith, CEO of phs Group, said: “We have been busy preparing for the launch of this scheme and we are ready for the first wave of demand. We encourage schools and colleges to look out for their activation email and make their first order so they can start offering free products as soon as possible.

“Period products are a necessity, not a luxury, and we believe providing free products for young people will be a catalyst for change in creating period equality. We are proud to be the supplier for such a worthy scheme.”


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