JUST half of York's schools are making use of a government scheme to tackle period poverty by providing free tampons and pads for pupils.

Figures reveal that only 33 of the city's 63 state schools ordered the free products for students since the scheme launched in January 2020 - similar to national levels of participation.

Campaign group The Red Box Project says all schools should take advantage of the scheme to help the one in ten young people experiencing period poverty.

The Department for Education (DfE) data shows that York schools spent on average 57 per cent of the funding allocated to them for period products by government.

Maxine Squire, assistant director for education at City of York Council, said: “As a local authority we support the scheme and have promoted it to schools through our regular communications.

"It is the responsibility of schools to order products and this is not something we monitor.”

Schools can order the products online to be delivered to them for free. They are available for all pupils who need them.

The data shows £13,071 was spent in total to provide pads, tampons and other products in York under the scheme, with each participating school spending an average of £399 of their £702 allocation.

A government report says schools were less likely to take part in the scheme while pupils were learning from home during the pandemic.

Clegg Bamber, co-founder of The Red Box Project, said: "Starting your period at any age can be a distressing time, even more so when you are at school, but by having the period products there available to students who need them it takes away some of the pressure and angst of wondering where they are going to be able to find a suitable period product from."

A DfE spokesman said: “No pupil should ever have to miss school because of their period.

“More than three-quarters of state secondary schools and colleges in England accessed period products using the Government’s scheme during its first year.

“The scheme remained in operation during partial school and college closures, and now that they have returned we expect uptake of the scheme to return to pre-lockdown levels.”