Sanitary products are to be given out for free in secondary schools across England from September, the Chancellor has confirmed.
Announcing the move in the Spring Statement, Philip Hammond said it followed concern from headteachers that girls are missing school because they cannot afford the products.
The Department for Education will lead work to develop a national scheme to ensure the provision of free sanitary products to girls in secondary schools.
Mr Hammond told MPs: “In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.”
In response to a question in the Commons, Mr Hammond added later that he was “quite open to sensible suggestions” for how to address the issue in primary schools.
School leaders welcomed the move, with the National Association for Head saying it was “the right thing to do”.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, agreed but added that much more needs to be done to tackle the general issue of poverty among pupils.
He said it is “extremely disappointing” that there is no extra cash for schools which are “creaking under the strain of funding pressures”.