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Menstrual health will be taught in all English schools by 2020

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Menstrual health will be taught in all schools across England by 2020, the Department of Education has announced.

Students aged 11 and above will now be taught about menstrual related conditions such as endometriosis, as well as other topics including consent and sexting, in a major shake up of existing relationship and sex education (RSE) guidelines.

As it currently stands, most pupils in primary school are taught about periods but critics have repeatedly said menstrual education doesn't go far enough.

Now RSE will be mandatory in all schools with a wider scope of information taught, including a greater focus on menustration and the menustrual cycle.

Photo: Woman holding menustral cup and tampon by Max Pixel

This is the first significant change to RSE guidelines in nearly twenty years and one which has been welcomed by Action Aid - a charity which campaigns on and raises awareness of menstrual issues such as period poverty and access to sanitary towels

In a statement given to The National Student, Jean McLean, deputy director of media, campaigns and public engagement said:

 

“We welcome the decision of the UK government to teach secondary students about menstrual health. Periods are a natural process and a part of nearly every girl’s life but a lack of access to sanitary pads and social stigma often holds girls back from going to school and fulfilling their potential.

 

“In Rwanda, for example, many girls miss up to 50 days of school or work every year because of their period. It is important girls learn their rights and are empowered to say My Body Is Mine and not let anything hold them back."

Photo: Sanitary towel by pixabay 

Considering what could be the next step, Ms Mclean added: 

 

“An important next step would be to ensure that there are more safe spaces equipped with a toilet, shower, sanitary products, spare clothes and privacy for girls to change and rest. ActionAid supports local grassroots activists who set these up in some of the world’s poorest countries with funding from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. We also help run girls clubs in local communities, where there can be open discussions about sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Many MPs have also come out in support of the new guidelines.

Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, tweeted: "The last time sex and relationship education was updated, Facebook and Snapchat didn't exist. That's why I've long called for action on this issue."

Fellow Labour MP Emma Reynolds said she was "really pleased govt (sic) are doing this".




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