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Agenda Item No. 4


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 23rd April 2018


Report of the Director of Learning and Skills


Sanitary Provisions in Schools


Purpose of the Report

  1. The purpose of this report is to provide information on schools' current procedures in respect of the provision of sanitary products in schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.


1.     That Members consider the contents of the report.  

Reason for the Recommendation

1.    To allow Committee to consider the contents of the report and make

       recommendations to Cabinet.



  1. A request for consideration (Appendix 1) of matter was received from Councillor Mrs. J.M. Norman, Ward Member for Llantwit Major, calling "on the 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 schools in the County as an acknowledgement that they are as essential as toilet paper for personal hygiene for female pupils. The report to relate not only to the financial cost of the provision, but to 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."

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The issue of the provision of free sanitary products in schools has recently been highlighted in the press. The local council of Rhondda Cynon Taff established a working group to consider the availability of hygiene products in RCT schools with recommendations being reported to their Council and subsequently forwarded to their Cabinet for consideration.  A copy of the report can be found at:

  1. Welsh Government has recently announced that they will provide £1 million to be used to help with period poverty in communities and schools across Wales.  The announcement advises that local authorities will receive £440,000 over the next two    years to tackle period poverty in their communities where levels of deprivation are highest and £700,000 of capital funding to improve facilities and equipment in schools. The Vale of Glamorgan Council was notified on 23rd March 2018 that it would receive a capital funding allocation of £31,512 for the 2017/18 financial year.
  2. This funding will be carried forward to 2018/19 and should be used by local authorities on "sanitary equipment and necessary changes to toilet facilities in schools where it is needed. This could mean disposal bins for feminine hygiene products, new vending machines or adjustments to cubicles". The Learning and Skills Directorate will work directly with schools to establish how this funding can be best utilised.
  3. To complement the capital funding, revenue grant funding of £8,666 for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years is to be made available. This will be distributed using the latest standard local government spending assessment formula.  However, this funding is not specifically targeted at schools. The funding notification letter states, "the funding must be used to provide feminine hygiene products to those women and girls most in need in your authority. You are in the best position to determine the most appropriate mechanisms to reach your vulnerable communities which may include distributing through partnerships with local food banks, community hubs or other local groups". The Corporate Management Team has not yet considered how this funding should be distributed.
  4. The neighbouring authority of Bridgend County Borough Council has worked with a Charitable organisation called Wings Cymru which is an organisation raising funds and collecting donations of menstrual products. It is a group of women and men who want to help end "period poverty". The organisation is dealing with the issue of sanitary provision in schools and has the support of the Council's Director of Education at Bridgend and the Assembly Member for the area.
  5. Ms Ceri Reeves, a representative from the organisation, has agreed to attend the Scrutiny Committee meeting to provide an overview of the work of the organisation and to advise of a pilot project initiative that has been established in the Maesteg area of the Authority involving three schools i.e. Maesteg Comprehensive School and its feeder primary schools.
  6. Enquiries have been made with all schools within the Vale of Glamorgan Council in relation to the current practices and arrangements that are in place for the provision of sanitary products.
  7. A  breakdown of the information received to date is shown below:

Comprehensive Schools  -  8 Comprehensive schools

No of schools

8 responses


Products provided free of Charge

Products Purchased from school budget

Supplier supplies some free boxes with further supplies if required purchased  from school budget  

Pupils are provided with products purchased from school budget at a charge of 20p - demand is minimal  







Primary Schools - 45 Primary schools


16 response received

All advised on rare occasions when they are required

No of schools

Free of Charge   and   school budget

Pupils provide their own with the school keeping supplies free of charge in cases of emergency

A teacher provides

Do not provide free products  - parents provide





  1. From the responses received to date it can be noted that there are similar procedures in place in all schools with the majority of schools supplying products free of charge purchased out of the school budget.
  2. In the comprehensive schools some of the schools have free supplies from a sanitary product supplier which usually lasts the year.  If not, then purchases are made from the school budget whilst some schools have no such arrangements and purchase products from the school budget directly.  The comprehensive schools that responded have advised that the current arrangements work well.
  3. In the 16 responses received from the primary schools 12 primary schools provide free of charge from the school budget and the pupils and parents are made aware of the provision. Two primary schools advised that they do not provide free products they are provided by the parents of the pupils.
  4. Should Committee consider that further investigation in relation to the provision of sanitary products in schools is required and to consider how the Welsh Government monies may be distributed  it is suggested that a small working group be established consisting of members of the Committee with the terms of reference to include:
  • To investigate further the current approach to promoting and providing and disposing of sanitary products in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout the Vale of Glamorgan Council;
  • To gather evidence from students, staff and health professionals on the current provision;
  • To identify areas of good practice with the intention of providing education for all pupils and an understanding of the provision.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Should a working group be established, the support will be provided from existing resources.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Raising overall standards of achievement and tackling poverty.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This is a county wide matter, therefore, ward member consultation is not required.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Learning and Culture.

Background Papers


Contact Officers

Lisa Lewis, Operational Manager, Strategy and Resources

Mark Davies, Prevention and Partnership Manager

Officers Consulted

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Director of Learning and Skills