Monday, 5 November 2018

28% of Wrexham pupil respondants missed days off school due to lack of access to sanitary products

The report from Wrexham council's Task and Finish group looking at period poverty in Wrexham has been published today and will be discussed at the Lifelong Learning commitee on Thursday 8th November, the meeting will be webcast and starts at 11.00am. The report can be viewed here.

Part of the groups work involved a survey of pupils and staff which had almost 500 responses. One of the key findings from the survey was that 28% of secondary age pupils who responded had missed days off school because they couldn't access suitable sanitary products, with 39% saying they'd missed 6 days or more. 38% of year 7 pupils who responded said they'd had to miss days in primary school.

The group are recommending that limited funding announced by Welsh Government recently be used to install shelves in as many toilet cubicles as possible to distribute free sanitary products.

The survey also highlighted that there is some sanitary provision in all local schools but that often pupils don't know how to access it, with 74% of respondants saying they either didn't know or that their school didn't provide sanitary products. It also highlights a need for more sanitary disposal bins in line with Welsh Government guidance. Other issues, such as access to toilets during the school day were also highlighted, with 50% of respondants saying they could not go to the toilet when they needed to during lessons in secondary school.

Cllr Carrie Harper who chaired the task and finish group and who will be chairing the Lifelong Learning committee on Thursday said:

" I'm very grateful to fellow councillors who took part in this work and particularly to council officers who put a huge amount of time into getting the survey up and running and analysing the results. It's the first of its kind in Wrexham and the level of response has made it very worthwhile, this is an issue people have really engaged with. We also had very honest feedback from pupils, staff, Wings Wrexham, the Nappy Library and the Senedd Yr Ifanc focus group, which has helped to inform our recommendations."

" This work clearly shows that period poverty is a serious issue for female learners in Wrexham and that we must do all we can to help tackle it. I hope the work of the group contributes to improving provision locally. The survey shows clearly that lack of access to sanitary products is impacting on school attendance and ultimately the performance of our female learners locally."

" We also heard some hearbreaking stories as part of our work, with some pupils telling us they had to use their dinner money to buy products and others having to use items of clothing because they couldn't access adequate sanitary wear. I'm glad we've been able to put this issue on the agenda and help to raise awarenss about it, with potentially hundreds of young women across Wrexham affected by this, it's vital the discussion continues."

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