Period Poverty

Government funding for free sanitary products in all English secondary schools and colleges has been welcomed as a "huge step" by campaigners.

Schools and educational establishments, colleges and universities can now provide free sanitary products for girls

Amika George, 19, who started campaigning on period poverty two years ago, said the move would make a “massive difference” to girls who struggled to afford tampons and pads.

But campaigners said it should also include primary schools.

The government was responding to concerns from head teachers that some girls were missing school because they could not afford sanitary products.

One in 10 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 in the UK have been unable to afford sanitary products, while 49% have missed an entire day of school because of their periods.

according to research by Plan International.

Ms George, now a student at Cambridge University, was inspired to start campaigning on the issue after reading about period poverty in the news.

She said she was “shocked” to find out girls were missing school because of not having sanitary products.

Many schools relied on individual teachers to provide tampons and sanitary pads or even charged pupils because they did not have the funds to give them out for free, she said.

“Schools do their best but it’s really important we relieve them of this burden,” she added.

She said some girls were forced to use toilet roll, newspaper or socks because they could not pay for sanitary products.

“The experience of being unable to access these products can affect a child’s ability to reach their potential,” she said.

“Who is going to be able to concentrate properly in lessons if you are worrying about leaking or spending your lunch money on sanitary products?”