Free period products are now being made available to all schools and colleges in England, as the Department for Education launches its fully funded scheme.
The new scheme, which launched on 20 January is set to give pupils easy access to period products at school or college, helping to break down stigmas and ensure no young person’s education is disrupted by their period.
Schools and colleges across the country are now able to order a range of period products from supplier phs Group, making period products readily available for all young people when they need them.
Millions of period products are being prepared by phs Direct, part of hygiene and washroom services provider phs Group, in a newly refurbished, dedicated warehouse ready to be dispatched ahead of the first orders. Schools and colleges will receive an activation email from phs which will enable them to access the purpose-built phs Direct portal and order products for their organisation. There is a wide range of products from pads and tampons to environmentally-friendly pads and reusable products.
David Taylor-Smith, CEO of phs Group, said: “We have been busy preparing for the launch of this scheme and we are ready for the first wave of demand. We encourage schools and colleges to look out for their activation email and make their first order so they can start offering free products as soon as possible.
“Period products are a necessity, not a luxury, and we believe providing free products for young people will be a catalyst for change in creating period equality. We are proud to be the supplier for such a worthy scheme.”
This follows the Government’s commitment last year to fully fund period products for all state-funded primary schools, secondary schools and colleges. It also forms part of the Department’s ambition to improve provision of products for young people, helping to support campaigns to break the stigma around periods and raise awareness of menstruation.
Children and Families Minister Michelle Donelan said: “Periods are a normal part of everyday life and we do not want young people missing out on lessons because of them.
“We know that it is not easy for everyone to access period products where and when they need them. This scheme will deal with those problems so young people can go about their daily lives without getting caught out if they have come on their period unexpectedly, forgotten to bring products with them or if they can’t afford the products they need.”
The scheme also comes just months before health education becomes a compulsory for all state funded primary and secondary schools, under new guidance on relationships, sex and health education from September 2020 – to ensure all young people learn about living healthy lives, including menstrual wellbeing.
The Government also introduced the £15 million annual Tampon Tax Fund to support women’s charities – and made a commitment to end period poverty globally by 2030.
Amika George, founder of #FreePeriods, said: “We have been waiting for this day for a long time! As a grassroots, student-led movement, Free Periods has been fighting for every single child in this country to be able to go to school without worrying about their next pad or tampon. For the first time in history, this scheme will ensure that becomes a reality.
“We ask that schools have open conversations with students about what they need and start signing up to the scheme – no child must miss out. Free products in schools will ensure that every child can learn and be their very best, without periods holding them back.”
For support, schools and colleges can get in touch with phs Direct by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the helpline on 01827 255500.