94% of secondary schools are now providing pupils with free period products

New data on the government’s free period product scheme shows schools and colleges stepping up to make sure no student has to miss lessons because of their period.

The data published today shows the value of products being ordered increased by almost a quarter in 2021 to £3.4 million compared with £2.8 million in 2020.

The number of environmentally friendly or reusable products ordered increased from less than a third in 2020 (30%) to almost half (48%) of all products in 2021.

In total, 13,822 individual organisations (68% of all those eligible) have ordered free period products since the scheme began in January 2020, helping reduce stigma around menstruation. This includes 94% of secondary schools and 90% of post 16 organisations.

The government is encouraging more primary schools to order products, with less than two thirds (61%) of primary schools currently engaging in the scheme.

The data also shows where take up across the country is especially strong, including the London borough of Redbridge which engaged the highest percentage of its schools and colleges in the scheme. Darlington has seen the biggest jump in uptake year on year.

Minister for Children and Families, Will Quince said: “I am pleased to see our free period products in such high demand in schools and colleges across the country, making sure there is no reason for any student to miss lessons or worry about coming on their period.

“We strongly encourage everyone to make the most of this scheme – demand should be no different from Stockport and Slough, to Manchester and Middlesbrough.

“I encourage every school and college to check their stocks and continue to order products before the end of the academic year. It is the quickest and simplest way of making sure they are available to everyone who needs them.”