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‘We must improve education around menstrual cycles in schools’ vows Deputy Minister for Social Partnership

‘More must be done to improving education around menstrual cycles if we are going to tackle period dignity in schools,’ Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has vowed.

The Welsh Government’s Period Proud Wales plan sets out the ambition to embed period dignity in schools and improve appropriate education resources around menstrual cycles.

Menstrual well-being and learning about the menstrual cycle is mandatory within the new Curriculum for Wales. The Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Code sets out the learning which should be taught over time as children grow.

It is hoped improving the availability of educational resources and learning around menstrual cycles will remove the stigma of talking about periods, improve the understanding of them and dispel the taboos and myths around them.

This includes the likes of the Hwb: Busting the Myths educational resource, which is primarily aimed at secondary school pupils.

Two core aims of the Welsh Government’s Period Proud Wales plan are to tackle period poverty, by improving access to period products, and ensuring period dignity, by removing any sense of stigma or shame associated with periods.

In 2022 the Welsh Government increased funding to ensure that period products can be accessed free of charge by learners in schools, Further Education Institutions and to those in need in communities to £3.9 million.

A research report into the Period Dignity Grant found that progress is being made in improving the availability of period products, including through schools, for those who struggle to access them.

The report also recommends there should be more information provided to people, alongside education, about periods in a bid to overcome the stigma and taboos around talking about them.

Work has also begun to co-produce education resources on menstrual wellbeing as part of the mandatory learning within the RSE Code. We are working with others to ensure practitioners are able to draw on professional support and resources that are publicly available and shared with other schools and settings across Wales.

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn visited Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni’s Gellihaf campus in Caerphilly to see their 'Period Dignity Drive', which aims to inform pupils about the reality of periods, dispel myths and empower young girls to talk about their bodies in a confident way.

The school is also taking shared ownership of period facilities being developed across two sites. 

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn said: 

Tackling period dignity is a key part of our Period Proud Wales plan. We must do more to improve education around menstrual cycles if we are going to tackle period dignity in schools.

It has been a privilege to see first-hand the ‘Period Dignity Drive’ being carried out at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni and their efforts to empower young pupils to talk about their bodies in a confident way.

If we can remove the stigma of talking about periods and dispel the myths and taboos that surround them, we can improve the menstrual wellbeing and awareness of pupils in schools across Wales. This will in turn benefit their health as they become adults.

Education Minister Jeremy Miles said:

We are striving to improve education resources around periods and ensuring period dignity is considered in guidance for schools, local authorities and colleges.

Menstrual well-being is included in our curriculum through the Relationships and Sexuality Education Code, which is currently being rolled out in our schools. We’re also working with the Higher Education sector to promote period dignity as part of institutions’ well-being policies and practices.

Tracey Neale, Assistant Head of Welsh-medium secondary Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, said:

We are proud to showcase how we are embedding period dignity in our curriculum and how we are supporting young girls and families across the borough.

It is imperative pupils are taught about the reality of periods and we remove the stigma of talking about them, so they aren’t afraid to reach out for help and are better informed about them.

Channel website: http://gov.wales

Original article link: https://www.gov.wales/we-must-improve-education-around-menstrual-cycles-schools-vows-deputy-minister-social-partnership

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