17 December 2018 Children and learning

Response to media coverage about period poverty guidance for schools

Recent media articles have misrepresented work to tackle #periodpoverty which gained cross party support at a council committee earlier this month. The report does not say that boys will have periods. 

The report put to the committee was raised as part of the council's commitment to Poverty Proofing the School day. The seven page report sets out the challenges and support available for girls and young people facing issues around period poverty. The benefits of all pupils learning about periods as a way to remove stigma and confusion is a key focus of the work. 

The report is clear about how: "Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods" and "Pupils with very early onset puberty and trans pupils and students are provided with additional support perhaps from a school nurse, if needed." These supporting comments are set in a much wider context and cannot be taken as stand alone statements. 

National statistics, included in the report, show: 

  • One in ten girls in the UK have been unable to afford period products
  • 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period
  • Research also shows significant taboo and stigma surrounding periods and menstruation

The debate covered a range of ways to tackle period poverty both in terms of access to products and the stigma of talking about periods among young people.

Councillors agreed to support the campaign by providing funding for the local Red Box project which distributes free period products to schools. The continuing work of the council’s PHSE (personal, sexual and health education) service and the school nursing service were also recognised as having a significant role in reducing stigma and shame related to periods and provide education on puberty and changes within the body.