Third of Notts schools not signed up to free period product scheme

A third of schools in Nottinghamshire are yet to sign up to a Government scheme to provide free period products to their pupils, figures suggest.

By Federica Bedendo
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 5:02 pm

The Red Box Project, which campaigned for the scheme to be introduced, says with the rising cost of living, it is even more important young people have access to the products.

Department for Education data shows just 67 per cent of 312 eligible state-funded schools in Nottinghamshire ordered period products for their pupils between the start of the scheme in January 2020 and the end of last year.

It means the remaining 33 per cent of schools are yet to take advantage of the scheme.

Department for Education data shows just 67 per cent of 312 eligible state-funded schools in Nottinghamshire ordered period products for their pupils between the start of the Red Box Project scheme in January 2020 and the end of last year.

The figures cover primary and secondary schools, as well as 16-19 education providers.

Products schools can order include period pads and tampons, and environmentally friendly alternatives such as period cups and reusable pads.

They are available to all pupils who need them, including those who have forgotten products, start their period unexpectedly, or cannot afford them.

Across England, uptake of the scheme is about 61 per cent in primary schools, but 94 per cent across secondary schools.

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Clegg Bamber, Red Box Project co-founder, wants more schools to sign up to the project to avoid young people missing school due to a lack of access to period products.

He said: “The rising tide of the cost of living, added to the impact of the pandemic on families and carers, means household budgets are needing to stretch further.

“Free period products can be the lifeline to young people who menstruate, but don't have access to period products.

“No young person must miss out on their education because they have their period.”

The figures show Nottinghamshire schools spent an average of £268 each to provide the products in 2021 – about 67 per cent of the £400 spend cap last year.

In 2020, county schools spent £254 on average.

Will Quince, children and families minister, said: “I encourage every school and college to check their stocks and continue to order products before the end of the academic year.

“It is the quickest and simplest way of ensuring they are available to everyone who needs them."

About 817,000 packets of period products were purchased by schools in England last year, 48 per cent of which were eco-friendly or reusable.

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