Pale coloured uniforms ‘not helpful’ for pupils on their periods

The demand for free sanitary items at schools has skyrocketed in the last two years (Picture: Getty)

Lightly coloured school uniforms are ‘not helpful’ for students who are menstruating as bloodstains can become very obvious, teachers have warned.

Pupils are normally forced to abide by strict dress codes, but this could really be impacting their personal dignity during their period, according to the Nasuwt teaching union.

‘Most of us have had leaks at different times,’ Elaine Paling said during the union’s yearly conference in Birmingham.

‘I know a lot of women, older women particularly, whose periods have become very irregular as they get older.

‘They never, I mean never, wear white trousers or white bottoms. How can you expect students who are children to understand that and to dress appropriately?

‘That’s if they are allowed to. School uniforms are often things like light grey, which is really not very helpful.’

Her concerns were echoed by other teachers at the conference who recalled painful and embarrassing situations from their years at school.

Students at St Columba's High School, Gourock (Picture: PA)

Pale coloured uniforms can reveal bloodstains (File picture: PA)

Helen Auld said she and her sister bought sanitary products with pocket money when they were children, and she suffered with severe period pains.

‘It wasn’t just the flooding every time I stood up,’ she said. ‘I also had terrible, terrible pain for probably two-and-a-half weeks of the four.’

Lucy Charlton told delegates sanitary hygiene ‘does not stop at the tampon, but the full support of knickers, tights and external clothes to get that girl moving with confidence again, as the woman she should be’.

Union members voted to extend and expand existing schemes to provide free period products to pupils, so funding can also cover items such as underwear, soap, tights and clothes.

Patrick Roach, Nasuwt general secretary, stressed period poverty is a ‘very real problem’ affecting thousands of young people, which impacts their personal dignity and their ability to attend school and focus on their learning.

‘The creation of schemes to distribute period products in schools and colleges was an important recognition of the need to provide such products as a basic entitlement,’ he said.

‘It is unacceptable that the Westminster government has not committed to funding to ensure this provision continues beyond this academic year.

‘We not only need to see these schemes maintained, but expanded, to ensure that every pupil has free access to the products and support they need.’

As the cost of the living crisis worsens, the demand for sanitary items distributed by charities has increased, making it even more important for young people to have access to free tampons and pads.

The union’s decision comes after data from Bloody Good Period, a charity providing period products to those unable to buy them otherwise, recorded a 78% increase in demand for their help during the first quarter of 2022.

This compares with the same period in 2020, rising from 7,452 packs of period products to 13,284, the Guardian reported.

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