Free period products for schools: this is how many Leeds schools are offering free period products to pupils

More than two in five schools in Leeds are yet to sign up to a Government scheme to provide free period products to their pupils, figures suggest.

By Abi Whistance
Monday, 7th February 2022, 4:45 am

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.

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It means the remaining 44% of schools are yet to take advantage of the scheme.

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

The figures cover primary and secondary schools, as well as 16 to 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 around 61% in primary schools, but 94% across secondary schools.

Clegg Bamber, co-founder of The Red Box Project, 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 schools in Leeds spent an average of £482 each to provide the products in 2021 – around 85% of the £570 spend cap last year.

In 2020, schools in the area spent £335 on average.

Will Quince, minister for children and families, said the Government was encouraging all schools to make the most of the scheme.

"Demand should be no different from Stockport and Slough, to Manchester and Middlesbrough.

“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 making sure they are available to everyone who needs them."

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

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