THE Government has refused to tell the Oxford Mail the names of schools and colleges in Oxfordshire that have not signed up to a scheme set to give their students free period products.

Spearheaded by 20-year-old campaigner Amika George, the Government launched an opt-in scheme for schools to tackle soaring 'period poverty' in England at the beginning of this year.

Following a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Oxford Mail in October, the Department for Education has now declined to share the names of institutions in the county which have not signed up, despite a clear public interest and increasing problems during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Last week we reported of Oxford Spires Academy in Cowley not allowing students to take time off from lessons because of their period.

An officer commented on the refusal: "The department holds the information you requested, but it is being withheld because this information forms the subset of figures for the statistical release of the period product scheme to be published by the department early next year.

"Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act provides for information to be exempt from disclosure where the information is held by the department with a view to its publication at some future date."