Period poverty (e.g. having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints) affects many school age children and college students in the United Kingdom.
As a result, the Department for Education introduced free period products, such as sanitary pads, for all schools and colleges from the 20th of January 2020.
The new fully funded scheme launched by the DfE means all schools and colleges in England now have access to free period products.
It provides pupils with easy access to sanitary products while at school or college. It also helps to break down long standing stigmas about menstruation.
Moreover, having access to free sanitary items like pads and towels should reduce the impact of disruptions caused to school age education at times when youngsters are menstruating.
Hence, providing free period products for schools and colleges means they will be readily available when young people need them - while they continue their education.
The DfE scheme started on Monday the 20th of January 2020. As a result, schools and colleges can now order a range of period products from the supplier phs Group (Personnel Hygiene Services).
The Children and Families Minister also noted that periods are a normal part of everyday life. So, it is important that young people don't miss out on their schooling because of them.
The UK Government is aware of how difficult it can be for some youngsters to get easy access to period products at school.
The new scheme addresses some of those problems. It means pupils will be able to continue their daily routines without getting caught out.
So, your child can now get access to free sanitary products at school or college if they:
Note: In November 2020, Scotland approved the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill and became the first country in the world to make period products free for 'anyone who needs them'.
The Government had already made a commitment to the funding of period products for all state-funded primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges in 2019.
It comes as part of their intention to improve the provision of products for young people. Doing so, should help to support other campaigns that are raising the awareness of - and breaking the stigma around - menstruation in children.
The DfE introduced the free period products scheme in the same year that health education will become compulsory for all state funded primary and secondary schools.
Moreover, sex and health education will be mandatory subjects taught in schools from September 2020.
New guidance on relationships aims to ensure that all young people learn about living healthy lives, including their personal menstrual well-being.
Note: The UK Government introduced the £15 million annual Tampon Tax Fund as part of their commitment to support women's charities and end period poverty globally by 2030.
The founder of the Free Periods organisation said they were thrilled at hearing the news about the new scheme.
In fact, the #FreePeriod organisation had fought tirelessly for every child in England to enjoy their time at school without the worries associated with menstrual cycles.
They want schools to have open conversations with their students about signing up to the free sanitary products scheme. It is important that no child misses out or gets held back from learning because of monthly periods.
UK health experts say young men and women should have easy access to free condoms. They also want them to be able to use the morning-after pill at home.
The phs group have prepared themselves for the launch of the scheme in January 2020. They confirmed that schools and colleges will get an activation email to make their order via the phs Group portal.
Schools and colleges in England will then be able to offer free period products to their students without any delays.
As the supplier for the scheme, they believe that period products are a necessity - not a luxury! Furthermore, providing free sanitary items to young people will help to bring about a positive change in period equality.
Note: The phs Group will have a range of free period products available to young people - including selected eco-friendly options.
DfE Introduces Free Period Products for Schools and Colleges