McIlveen launches scheme to promote period dignity in schools

Date published: 21 September 2021

A scheme to make period products freely available to pupils in primary, secondary, special schools and EOTAS settings has been launched.

Ellie Massey - period poverty campaigner

The three-year pilot programme is expected to cost £2.6 million and is being delivered in partnership with the Education Authority (EA), the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) and schools.

Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen said: “No-one should miss out on their education because they cannot afford or access these essential products.

“Providing free products will help pupils manage their periods confidently at school, reduce anxiety and stress and enable students to focus on their learning.

“The pilot will also tackle the lack of understanding and the stigma around periods which impacts negatively on young people.”

The programme will address the specific needs of the school sector and be supported with curriculum materials and communications by CCEA. Operational support will be provided by the EA.

Period poverty campaigner and Year 14 Strathearn school pupil Ellie Massey said:

“I was delighted to be invited to join the Steering Group to oversee the implementation of this important project.  Period Dignity is such an important issue to talk about and this project has the potential to have a positive impact on the lives of so many students.”  

Notes to editors: 

  1. The proposed scheme is a 3-year pilot programme to make free period products available to all pupils who menstruate, in primary, secondary and special schools and EOTAS settings. The continuation of the scheme in years 2 and 3 will be subject to evaluation of its benefit to pupils.
  2. More information can be found on the DE website
  3. The scheme will now be delivered to pupils with support from schools, DE, the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment and the Education Authority.
  4. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni (external link opens in a new window / tab)(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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