Weir outlines plans to end period poverty in schools

Date published: 17 December 2020

Education Minister, Peter Weir has announced that period products are to be made freely available to pupils in primary and secondary schools.

The pilot is expected to cost £2.6 million, over 3 years, and will launch in all schools with female learners in the 2021/22 academic year.

Education Minister, Peter Weir said: “I welcome today’s decision by the Executive to support my proposal to fund a pilot scheme to address period poverty in schools. Nobody should miss out on their education because they cannot afford or access these essential products.

“Providing free period 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 education and the stigma around periods which impacts negatively on young people.”

The pilot scheme 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 13 Strathearn School pupil Ellie Massey said: “My fellow students and I brought the issue of period poverty to our school council earlier this year. It became clear that pupils felt strongly about period poverty and wanted to do something to help those who lacked the means to buy their own period products.

“With that in mind, I contacted the Minister and made a presentation to the Department, to express both mine and many other organisation’s desire to see period products made freely available in schools. I was aware the Minister was looking very closely at the issue of period poverty and he was supportive.

“I am now very pleased that the Minister and the Executive have announced a pilot scheme to address period poverty, which will launch in all relevant schools in 2021/22. I have a passion for social justice and period poverty is an issue which relates to equality of opportunity and has the potential to impact positively on the lives of 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 and secondary schools. The continuation of the scheme in years 2 and 3 will be subject to evaluation of its benefit to pupils.
  2. Detailed design of the scheme will now be undertaken with close engagement with delivery partners, schools and pupils.
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