To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide free menstrual products to all school children in England.
23 January 2019
The Department for Education published statistics in March 2018 which shows that while absence rates related to illness are slightly higher in girls than boys, the gap in absence rates between boys and girls is very similar regardless of disadvantage. This suggests period poverty does not have a significant, nation-wide impact on attendance. However, no girl should be held back from reaching her potential because of her gender or background and we are keeping this matter under close review.
Schools are best placed to identify and address the needs of their pupils; have discretion over how they use their funding; and can make sanitary products available to disadvantaged pupils if they identify this as a barrier to attainment or attendance.
We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through the provision of the Pupil Premium, equivalent to more than £2.4 billion of additional funding this year alone.
Our guidance on ‘Sex and Relationship Education’ and the draft ‘Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education’ guidance (both attached) encourages schools to make sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation. Lastly, as a government, in the previous round of the Tampon Tax Fund we provided £1.68 million for the ‘Let’s Talk. Period’ project, which is distributing sanitary products to young women and girls in need across England.