From education to employment

DfE opens the bidding to provide free period products to schools and colleges

Today (14 June) the Department for Education has published the Invitation to Tender for organisations bidding to offer free period products in schools from January 2020.

This follows news in April that the scheme, originally announced in the Spring Statement, will cover primary schools as well as secondary schools and colleges.

The successful bidder will be required to offer environmentally-friendly sanitary pads as a minimum, and are encouraged to provide further environmentally-friendly options (such as menstrual cups or eco-friendly tampons).

The bidding window will be open until 15 July, with the contract being awarded in the Autumn.

Further guidance for schools and colleges on how the scheme will work – and how best to ensure products reach the students who need them – will follow.

  • The announcement builds on the introduction of compulsory health education at both primary and secondary level from September 2020. As part of the new relationships, sex and health education guidance all pupils in England, at a timely point, will be taught about menstruation and menstrual wellbeing as part of a well-rounded curriculum spanning mental and physical health.
  • It also follows the Government’s introduction in 2015 of a Tampon Tax Fund, with £15 million allocated in March 2019 alone to support women’s charities, and a commitment to develop a comprehensive and sustainable response to period poverty in the UKwith a cross-sectoral taskforce, backed by seed-funding of £250,000.

Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, said:

“This Government is determined that no one should be held back from reaching their potential, which is why we are making free period products available to all schools and colleges from early next year.

“In designing this scheme we have carefully considered our impact on the environment – encouraging eco-friendly products to be offered where possible – while making sure the programme remains cost-effective and sustainable.

“I encourage all bidders to think carefully about how they could reduce their environmental impact, while at the same time ensuring their products meet the needs of all who use the scheme, so that no young person misses out on education.”

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