To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to paragraph 2.8 of the Sex and Relationship Education Guidelines, what is meant by the phrase make adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation; and whether the intention of that phrase extends to schools acting to provide girls with free sanitary products.
The government is clear that all young people deserve the opportunity of a rounded education that equips them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need for adult life in modern Britain. Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) guidance thus encourages schools to prepare boys and girls for puberty, including menstruation. SRE guidance focuses primarily on supporting girls by helping them understand menstruation before they experience the onset of physical changes. However, it also prompts schools to consider providing sanitary protection for girls who start their periods at school and do not have the products necessary to continue their learning.
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.