Tower Hamlets schools being added to ‘Betty’ national programme on educating children about having periods
- Credit: Betty for Schools
An education programme aimed at dealing with ‘menstruation poverty’ is selecting 16 Tower Hamlets schools for girls to receive free feminine care products.
The ‘Betty for Schools’ programme is marking its first anniversary by adding underprivileged areas of the East End to its nationwide project to help youngsters be more confident talking about their monthly periods.
It has already reached half-a-million pupils in 3,700 schools across Britain since its launch a year ago.
“There is still a huge amount more to do if we want the topic to be normalised for the next generation,” Betty for Schools’ education manager Becky Hipkiss said. “We’re pushing period education onto the curriculum to give this important issue a larger platform to help tackle period poverty.”
The Betty programme aimed at both boys and girls aged eight to 12 highlights emotional and physical aspects using a touring ‘betty bus’ to encourage open and honest conversations about menstruation.
The bus has previously visited four east London schools among the 210 in the rest of the country.
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Seven-out-of-10 girls felt less scared or worried about starting their period after the bus turned up at their school, according to research commissioned by the ‘Betty’ team. Even most boys felt they knew how to support someone if they were feeling unwell or emotional due to their period.
Secondary teacher Jade Dimelow at one school already visited by the programme said: “It has traditionally been seen as a topic only girls need know about, but giving boys this knowledge has shown how mature and understanding they can be towards changes girls face.”
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The team aims to bring awareness to more schools in deprived areas, with 900 on the waiting list for a visit from the Betty bus and demand rising from classroom teachers for the ‘Betty for schools’ online resources such as videos.
The programme is donating feminine care items to schools to help alleviate ‘period poverty’ as well as offering free sample packs of pads on request.
The Tower Hamlets schools are being chosen by numbers of pupils on free meals and level of pupil premium.