Access to free period products: information for schools and kura

Poor access to period products can affect attendance and engagement at school.

Approximately one in 12 students reported having missed school due to lack of access to period products.

Students can miss out on learning, sporting and cultural activities, and feel embarrassed and ashamed if they can’t access products to manage their periods. This negatively impacts their achievement and wellbeing.

Access to period products is available to all state and state-integrated schools and kura in New Zealand. Research shows that the average age young people start menstruating is decreasing. As a result, access to period products is needed in primary and intermediate as well as secondary schools.

Taking part in the initiative is not compulsory. Schools and kura are best placed to understand local needs and can decide if it is in their best interests to opt-in to receive period products. We would expect school boards to be involved in decisions to opt-in.

Initial feedback indicates that access to period products is already a concern for a number of schools. Some are already providing period products to students through charitable providers or by using their own resources. There are also schools where a need may not be so obvious, for example, a boys’ school that joins with another school for classes or across year groups and includes ākonga of more than one gender.

Access to free period products: information fact sheet for schools and kura (English) [PDF, 74 KB] 

Access to free period products: information fact sheet for schools and kura (Te Reo Māori) [PDF, 73 KB]

Implementation

We are taking a phased approach to providing period products to schools and kura across New Zealand:

  • Phase one: product delivery to schools and kura by the end of Term 2
  • Phase two: refining the distribution model 

In phase one, pads and tampons are available to all schools and kura that opt-in. Ordering opened in June 2021, and products are shipped by an existing distribution system. Schools and kura can order based on their roll number, similar to ordering any other essential supply. Enough product is provided so that students can effectively manage their whole menstrual cycle and can take product home.

The tender process has enabled us to source a variety of period products and work with four successful suppliers - Crimson Organic, Organic Initiative, Kimberly-Clark and The Warehouse Group - as well as the distributor Blue Star.

How to order products

Schools and kura that have opted-in to the initiative can order period products through the Ministry’s resource catalogue Down the Back of the Chair(external link)

Schools and kura will already have a Down the Back of the Chair account, however if schools need help with access, they can contact orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz.

Schools and kura can order period products by the carton.

One carton (with 12 packs) will provide enough product for six students to each get two packs, enough to manage their menstrual cycle for the month.

The table below summarises the ordering guidance:

One pellet 30 cartons 180 students per cycle
One carton 12 packs Six students per cycle
Two packs 20 - 32 individual pads or tampons One student per cycle

Schools can order product as often as necessary depending on the needs of students and the school’s storage facilities – there is no need to order for the whole year.

To help manage quantities a maximum of three months product, there is a limit on how much can be shipped with each order so that we can manage supply and ensure all schools can access product when they need it. Schools will be allocated product quantities based on the average usage and the number of estimated menstruators in their school.

Download ordering guidance for schools [PDF, 141 KB]

Products

A variety of packs of pads and tampons, regular and super absorbency, are available. These products are easy to use and appropriate for a broad range of students’ age, developmental, and cultural needs in a schooling context.

As the initiative develops, we will explore how we can strengthen wider education on periods for learners and the adults around them.

Information for parents and whānau

We have developed information for schools and kura to share with parents and whānau. This information covers the range or products available and how schools might distribute these products to students.

Download information for parents and whānau-English [PDF, 45 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Te Reo Māori [PDF, 40 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau -Fijian [PDF, 42 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau -Kiribati [PDF, 36 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Samoan [PDF, 36 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Tokelauan [PDF, 36 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Tongan [PDF, 43 KB]

Download information for parents and whānau-Tuvaluan [PDF, 41 KB]

Posters

Posters are available to promote access to period products in schools and kura. These are available in Te Reo, English and Pacific languages.

Access to period products poster-English [PDF, 76 KB]

Access to period products poster-Te Reo Māori [PDF, 59 KB]

Access to period products poster-Fijian [PDF, 51 KB]

Access to period products poster-Kiribati [PDF, 49 KB]

Access to period products poster-Niuean [PDF, 50 KB]

Access to period products poster-Rotuman [PDF, 55 KB]

Access to period products poster-Samoan [PDF, 49 KB]

Access to period products poster-Tokelauan [PDF, 51 KB]

Access to period products poster-Tongan [PDF, 52 KB]

Access to period products poster-Tuvaluan [PDF, 50 KB]

Managing access to period products in schools

There may be some initial support required from schools as we provide period products eg distributing products to students. As we refine the delivery model to provide a more tailored approach we will work with schools, kura and suppliers on what this will look like and how we can do this with minimum burden for schools.

Young people are often embarrassed to talk to adults so we will work with schools on the best way to deliver period products that minimises interactions with staff.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your Education Advisor or email accesstoperiodproducts@education.govt.nz.

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