AN Announcement – England Government’s Scheme

We have news on the Government funded scheme for free period products in schools and colleges in England!

Please read the below and please do share, so that schools and colleges can sign up to the scheme in January, and make the most of this funding! 

Key updates:

  • As we know, the scheme is opt-in: schools and colleges will need to order their free products 
  • Products should be available to order from late January 2020 (this is later than originally intended – it is understood that this is because of restrictions on communications in the period prior to the general election)
  • Institutions will be able to place orders by phone, email or via an online portal – when this process is open, we will contact you immediately
  • A range of products will be available to order, including:
  • Always towels (normal and long)
  • Lil-lets environmentally-friendly pads (normal and super)
  • Lil-lets teen pads (day and night)
  • Tampax Compak tampons (normal, super and super plus)
  • Tampax cardboard applicator tampons (normal, super and super plus)
  • Lil-lets non-applicator tampons (regular, super and super plus)
  • Lil-lets organic non-applicator tampons 
  • Reusable pads by Bloom & Nora (mini and midi) and carry bag
  • Mooncups (in two sizes)
  • There will be a maximum Order Limit per Institution per academic year, which will be based on a specified amount being allocated for every “estimated menstruating learner” in each Institution. We do not have any information at this stage about how this amount has been calculated. The range of products vary in cost and therefore will affect how many products can be ordered within the Order Limit: for example, we expect Tampax Compak tampons would be more expensive than cardboard applicator tampons. The Order Limit will be notified to each institution by phs Group before the start of each academic year and prior to the placement of each order. 
  • In addition to products themselves, phs Group also plans to provide schools with guidance on the ordering process, information on the storage and safety of products (e.g. information on Toxic Shock Syndrome), briefing documents to share with pupils and practical resources to raise awareness of the scheme in schools (e.g. leaflets and posters)
  • All institutions will be able to place orders as soon as the scheme opens; from the start of the next term (Spring 2020), there may be staggered ordering windows during which time orders must be made. We do not currently have further details of this 
  • The free period products should be delivered no later than 5 business days of being ordered
  • The Government anticipates c.£6m being spent on products each financial year, which assumes around 35% take up of free products by menstruating students. The contract awarded has a value of £11m. Although it is not completely clear from publicly available information, it seems the greatest risk to the efficacy of the scheme lies with the Order Limits: if they are too small, the scheme’s efficacy will be in real jeopardy. 
  • Free products are available to all schools and colleges in England (including the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight). The following institutions are covered by the scheme:
  • All state maintained primary and secondary schools including academies and free schools
  • All state maintained middle/ all through schools
  • All general hospital schools, special schools, academies and free schools
  • All alternative provision institutions, including pupil referral units 
  • All Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funded schools, academies, colleges and independent learning Suppliers, with provision for 16 to 19 year olds (including those with older students where these have an Education Health and Care Plan)

This information comes mainly from a redacted copy of the contract between the Department for Education and phs Group, which won the tender to deliver the scheme. This can be found on a link on this webpage.

We would welcome feedback from eligible institutions about the impact of Order Limits in their schools, and any other comments on the scheme, as it rolls out.

We are committed to providing further updates on the scheme as soon as they are available. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do let us know.