Health Education: Females

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th November 2018.

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Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the recommendations in the report, Break the Barriers: Girls' experiences of menstruation in the UK, published in January 2018 by Plan UK.

Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing the P-card scheme proposed by Plan UK in its report Break the Barriers: Girls' experience of menstruation in the UK, published in January 2018.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

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.

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