GIRLS at secondary schools and colleges in England will be offered free sanitary products amid fears many are missing lessons because of ‘period poverty’.
Chancellor Philip Hammond congratulated campaigners, who raised concerns that many girls from poor or struggling families were unable to afford products, as he made the pledge in his Spring Statement.
He told MPs the measure, ‘in response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products’, would take effect in the next school year.
NHS England announced earlier this month that free tampons, sanitary pads, towels and liners would be offered to patients from July. Studies by the charity Plan International UK have suggested 49 per cent of girls have missed a day of school due to periods while ten per cent of 14-to-21-year-olds were unable to afford sanitary products.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who campaigned on the issue, welcomed the move but added: ‘This is not a silver bullet and we must continue to demand better for girls and women — it is vital the Conservative government bring in more ambitious measures if we are to bring about the full eradication of period poverty.’ The Red Box Project campaign group called for the chancellor to extend the offer to primary schools. ‘Age should not be yet another prerequisite to accessing a full education,’ it said.
The National Association for Head Teachers said the scheme was ‘the right thing to do’, while it was also welcomed by the National Education Union.
But the NEU’s joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said Mr Hammond chancellor ‘did not address the national school funding crisis’.
‘There is nothing new for children with special educational needs and disability who are not getting adequate provision, nor for teachers who use their own money to resource lessons,’ he added.
Half of dads don’t speak to their daughter about periods
HALF of fathers have never spoken to their daughters about periods and one in three have never bought any sanitary products, a survey found.
The poll of 1,500 men was carried out by Hey Girls’ campaign #Pads4Dads, which aims to ‘break down myths and taboos’. Actor and father Michael Sheen (pictured top) said: ‘We want to be supportive but there’s almost no information out there aimed at dads.’