We are committed to ensuring that any action to support disadvantaged pupils is based on robust evidence. We have considered the research published by Plan UK and have used this to inform the department’s 2018 survey questions for pupils and senior school leaders.
The department published additional analysis of its absence statistics, in March 2018, which show that whilst absence rates amongst girls increases after a certain age, there is no evidence to suggest that this is related to pupils being disadvantaged. This suggests period poverty does not have a significant, nation-wide impact on school attendance.
Schools are best placed to assess 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 attendance. We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through the provision of the Pupil Premium, equivalent to more than £2.4 billion of additional funding this year alone.