From Monday every primary school, secondary school and college in England will be supplied with period products that will be available free, including environmentally friendly reusable pads and menstrual cups.
The scheme is part of the Department for Education’s ambition to support "period equality".
It will allow pupils to take the products they need at no cost, while teachers will have access to an online portal where they will be able to order supplies as needed.
Quick read: Free sanitary products ‘misused’ by pupils
Children and families minister Michelle Donelan MP 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.”
Tackling period poverty
Some 46 per cent of teenage girls in Britain believe period poverty holds girls back from attending school or education every day, according to research carried out by PHS Group, the firm that is supplying the products.
And 32 per cent admit that either they or someone they know has been impacted by period poverty in the past 12 months, with 30 per cent saying they believe it holds girls back from achieving their aspirations.
Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools and colleges are well aware of the plight of girls who cannot afford period products and many already buy and provide them so that pupils don’t end up missing lessons. It is good news that all schools and colleges will now be able to access free period products."
Schools and colleges will receive an activation email from washroom and hygiene services firm the PHS Group, which will enable them to order products for their organisation.