Free sanitary products to be made available in secondary schools across the UK

From September 2019, free sanitary products will be available in UK secondary schools [Photo: Getty]

Free sanitary products will be available in secondary schools and colleges across England from September 2019, the UK government has confirmed.

Today, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the revolutionary move during his spring statement following widespread concern that a growing number of female students are skipping lessons due to a lack of sanitary products.

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“In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products,” Hammond announced. “I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.”

The news comes after campaign, Free Periods, kick-started a petition for the UK government to pledge free menstrual products in all secondary schools. Over 271,000 people signed the petition with 2,000 taking to the streets of London to protest.

According to a 2018 study conducted by leading feminine hygiene company Always, more than 137,700 girls missed school last year because they couldn’t afford sanitary products.

To put this into perspective, whenever a girl skips class during her period she is approximately 145 days behind her fellow male counterparts.

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A 2018 survey by Plan International UK further emphasises the scale of the issue with one in 10 British women aged between 14-21 unable to afford sanitary products.

As a consequence, the survey also discovered that one in seven have had to ask to borrow sanitary products from friends.

But progress is finally beginning to take place.

Earlier this month, NHS England announced that all women and girls being cared for by the health service will be able to ask for sanitary products from summer 2019.

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