the real period project
Plan International’s 2018 Break The Barriers report (1) looking into girls’ experiences of menstruation in the UK found that 48% of the girls they spoke to felt embarrassed by their period, with this figure rising to 56% of 14 year olds. Thorough menstrual education that really prepares girls and other young menstruators of other genders for managing their periods and the ups and downs of life with a menstrual cycle can be hard to fit in to a busy school curriculum.
It’s becoming increasingly accepted that boys really need to be included in the conversation and we could not agree more, it’s the only way we can build a world where everyone can talk about periods free from embarrassment. However many girls in the first few years of secondary still ask for time on their own so they can ask the questions they really want to ask about their experiences and concerns without fear of mocking and teasing. Other issues faced by young menstruators in school (and teaching staff alike) are fears of leaking in class or exams, period pain affecting their ability to function in school and a culture of menstrual shaming or silence.
We want to support schools to tackle all of these issues and create a positive and supportive culture in their school.
Hey Girls educational resources for secondary schools
In 2018 we worked with Hey Girls CIC to develop their My Period cards and educational resources including lesson plans and a spiral curriculum of recommended study from Primary through to Secondary.
We are really proud of this work, and excited to see how it is used around the country.
In 2019/20 we ran a pilot of menstrual cycle awareness and wellbeing sessions in schools, university and community groups in Bristol and Bath. The trial went really well and participants enjoyed learning about how their body works and increased their confidence in looking after themselves throughout their cycle and in knowing when and why to get help if needed. Findings from this pilot can be seen in a short 5 minute video of our presentation to the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research in August 2021 (coming soon). This pilot has led on to other similar work, including a session for Bangor University students.
If you would like to enquire about running sessions like these in your school, please get in touch.
Celebration Day for Girls School Sessions
Emily is a Celebration Day for Girls facilitator and these workshops can be held in your school, as a full or half day session. This programme was created by Jane Bennett in Australia over 15 years ago and now has many facilitators worldwide, offering fun sessions that prepare young people for puberty and periods in an empowering and positive way. The sessions adapt well for the school setting and work well both in girls’ schools, or alongside a session run for the boys in mixed gender classes. We recommend JourneyManUK for this.
Contact us for more information.
Please note that although the name implies this workshop is only open to young people who identify as girls, we welcome all genders and will always endeavour to work with all participants to ensure their particular needs are met.
Period Friendly Schools
Interested in making your school more period-friendly but not sure where to start?
Our comprehensive Period Friendly Schools training was developed following a large consultation of schools, youth workers and young people in 2019 commissioned by Bristol City Council. In the training we discuss how to promote a period-friendly school culture, how to provide menstrual products and education on menstrual wellbeing and ensure inclusivity for all.
We offer this training online or in person to all school staff and school nurses, and also offer training for youth workers and others working with young people outside of school.
If you would like to enquire about organising a training session in your area please contact us.