Going through puberty comes with a lot of changes to a girl’s body and emotions. When a period happens for the first time, girls should have been supported to feel ready and confident. With nearly 1 in 3 (32%) girls in the UK feeling scared about starting their first period, Always wants to shine a light on the critical role that honest and relatable puberty and period education schools can have on young girls’ confidence and preparedness.
Sam spoke to Molly on the Durham Today programme about the scheme and about her own personal experiences of period educations.
Accessible education and open conversations about puberty and periods in schools is crucial to helping students embrace their changing bodies with confidence, and creating a culture of acceptance and preparedness when it comes to periods and hormone cycles. However, research reveals that 60% of UK students find puberty lessons in the classroom either embarrassing or uncomfortable, with 1 in 3 (32%) saying that their peers mess around or don’t pay attention during them.
This is why the brand is on a mission to help level-up period prep in schools across the UK as part of their Always About You schools programme, which delivers puberty and period lessons in classrooms up and down the country. To raise awareness about the programme and demonstrate the importance of period education for puberty-aged girls and how their wider network can be supportive allies, actress and singer Molly Rainford and GP Dr Aziza Sesay hosted a special ‘Always Period Prep School’ event at Lilian Baylis School in London on 21st November 2023. The event focused on educating and preparing girls about their cycle, and is one of many activities that Always is doing to ensure that the content of their school’s programme remains relevant, topical and engaging for young girls across the country.
The event kicked off with an honest and informative discussion between Molly and Dr Aziza about the physical and emotional changes that happen during our monthly cycles, and some tips and tricks such as what to eat, when you need extra rest, and how to openly communicate about these changes with friends and family. By starting the day with an educational piece, the foundations were set for the creative workshops. In the workshops, the students put what they had learnt from the discussion into practice with the creation of materials like posters to help convey visually the tips that they wish they had known and that they think other girls would benefit from. Some of these creations will be taken and used by the Always team to be added into the National About You Schools Programme, with the aim of helping other girls to prepare for their first period and beyond.
Actress and singer Molly Rainford, reflects on the day: “It was so inspiring to see all the students fully engaged in important topics around period education. They put their knowledge to the test by taking part in creative workshops, where they designed artwork and pledges as groups for their school, which will help make information around period prep even more digestible and accessible for them and their peers. The winning group’s artwork will be expertly designed and go on to be included in the Always About You programme’s education resources nationally, to help all girls across the UK feel prepared. Programmes like Always About You show how much puberty education has progressed since I was at school and the way this will support the next generation during such a pivotal point in their lives.”
GP Dr Aziza Sesay says: “It’s so important that everyone is aware that periods are completely normal and nothing to be embarrassed about. I’m very passionate about period and menstrual health education – it all starts with the basics and when we get it right early, it makes such a positive difference in how these topics are perceived and discussed. These conversations need to be normalised - no one should ever feel alone or suffer in silence. Puberty and period education is something everyone should feel confident in so that girls can feel better prepared, and all others can provide the appropriate support needed. I Knowledge is truly power. The more they know, the better.”
The Always About You schools programme will help improve period support and guidance; aiming to reach half a million students, teachers, parents, and carers in the UK every year. The curriculum-linked programme equips teachers with class packs, digital resources, free products, and lesson guides to support them in the classroom.
Teachers can sign up to the programme where they can access a wealth of classroom materials that are regularly added to: https://nationalschoolspartnership.com/initiatives/about-you-2023-2024/