Cllr Jayne Norman (Independent Llantwit Major) is this week to call for the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s education scrutiny committee to “support in principle, subject to an officer’s report, the provision of free sanitary products, such as tampons and towels” in all secondary and primary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan .
She says the move would be “an acknowledgement that they are as essential as toilet paper for personal hygiene for female pupils. ”
Cllr Norman is calling for a report to be produced by the council’s officers which would look at not only to the financial cost of the provision, but to what she calls “the benefits of this investment in terms of promoting, dignity, equality, health and wellbeing and its effects on education and welfare of many of our pupils, and its effects on education and welfare of many of our pupils who live in low-income families affected by poverty across the Vale of Glamorgan.”
The Welsh Labour Government has said wants to tackle what it describes as “period poverty” by providing £1,000,000 to local councils for this purpose across Wales – specifically directed towards “communities where levels of deprivation are highest”.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council was told last month it will receive a capital funding allocation of £31,512 for this purpose the 2017/18 financial year.[ i.e the financial year just past].
The funding will be carried forward to 2018/19 with a view to the Vale – and all other local authorities in Wales – spending the cash on “sanitary equipment and necessary changes to toilet facilities in schools where it is needed.” The Welsh Labour Government says “This could mean disposal bins for feminine hygiene products, new vending machines or adjustments to cubicles”.
In addition the Welsh Labour Government is to make grant funding of £8,666 for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years to be distributed not to specifically to schools. The Welsh Government is telling councils“the funding must be used to provide feminine hygiene products to those women and girls most in need in your authority.” [i.e. even if they are not in school].
The Vale Council has also been advised of the work of a charity called “Wings Cymru” which is also tackling “period poverty” and which raises funds and “collects donations of menstrual products”.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council has now carried out a survey of the practices in all its schools :-
- Currently in 7 of the 8 comprehensive schools in the Vale, hygiene products are already provided free of charge with 5 schools funding the costs from school budgets.
- In 2 (un-named) secondary schools – a quantity of free supplies of hygiene products are provided on a complimentary basis “by suppliers” .
- In 1 secondary school pupils are charged 20p for each item – for which demand is said to be“minimal”.
- Of the 16 schools which responded to the survey (out of 46 across the Vale) 12 provide sanitary items free to pupils and fund the costs from the school budget
- In 2 primary schools, pupils provide their own items – which are stored for them at the school .
- In 1 primary school “a teacher” provides items “when required”
- In 1 primary school the school does not provide any sanitary items and expects the parents to provide the necessary items.