Only around half of Doncaster's schools participate in free period products scheme

Only around half of Doncaster's schools are taking advantage of a Government scheme to provide free period products, figures reveal.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 3:32 pm

The Red Box Project, which campaigned for the scheme to be introduced, said all schools should be taking part to support the one in ten young people experiencing period poverty.

Department for Education data shows that only 47 per cent of the 123 state-funded schools in Doncaster ordered free period products for their pupils between the start of the scheme in January 2020 and the end of last year.

Schools can order the products online and they are delivered to them free of charge.

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Free period product scheme

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

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

The figures show £17,863 was spent in total to provide the products in Doncaster.

Each participating school spent on average £309, around 68 per cent of the £452 spend cap.

A report published by the DfE said that schools had been less likely to order period products while pupils were learning from home during the pandemic.

Across England, the uptake of the scheme has been around 41 per cent in primary schools, and 76% across secondary schools.

Clegg Bamber, co-founder of The Red Box Project, said: "Whilst primary schools won't have as many pupils menstruating as secondary schools will, there will still be some pupils who will be menstruating and should rightly have access to the period products they need at school.

"Starting your period at any age can be a distressing time, even more so when you are at school, but by having the period products there available to students who need them it takes away some of the pressure and angst of wondering where they are going to be able to find a suitable period product from.

"Whilst the period products scheme is a great step forward and something we campaigned for, there are limitations.

"Schools are only in attendance for 39 weeks of the year and menstruation cycles do not stop for school holidays and this has to be considered when thinking about the issue of period poverty affecting young people."

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.