The government provides guidance on Sex and Relationship Education which outlines how and when schools can prepare girls and boys for puberty and menstruation. The year 5 programme of study also provides guidance to schools on how puberty should be covered in the Science curriculum. Schools and teachers should decide what to teach based on their pupils’ needs and, where appropriate, seek the support of specialist organisations and expert professionals. The Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) association supports schools by providing materials for teaching girls and boys about puberty and menstruation for children aged 8-11 and 11-12.
The government is in the process of making Relationships Education in primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in secondary schools mandatory and is considering expanding this to PSHE. We have launched a call for evidence to gather the views of teachers, parents, and most importantly, young people to help us shape relationships education and RSE and determine priorities for future guidance. This was launched on 19 December 2017 and closes on 12 February 2018: https://consult.education.gov.uk/life-skills/pshe-rse-call-for-evidence.
Schools are best placed to identify and address the needs of their pupils, have discretion over how they use their funding and can make sanitary products available to disadvantaged pupils if they identify this as a barrier to attainment or attendance. We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through the provision of the Pupil Premium, equivalent to almost £2.5 billion of additional funding this year alone.