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Encouraging open and honest talk about periods
Our ‘betty bus’, designed to support and enhance the PSHE accredited betty for schools programme, is a travelling classroom which delivers interactive workshop sessions to both boys and girls aged 8-12. So far we have visited over 70 academies, comprehensives, free and private schools across England and Scotland since launching in March, and the demand for visits has been huge. We have received over 600 requests from schools for visits in just 7 weeks.
The demand for the bus is an indication of the need for new approaches to educating children on periods. An impact study currently being conducted into the betty bus supports this position, detailing the markedly positive effect that the bus is having on children, their understanding of periods and their attitudes in the classroom. Following their experience on the bus, over two thirds (68%) of girls reported feeling more knowledgeable, and three in five (61%) stated that they felt less scared and worried about periods. A further 59% said they now feel better prepared for their periods. These findings are particularly important in light of the results of a study conducted in March 2017 by betty for schools, which found that almost half (47%) of women felt unprepared and didn’t know what to expect when their period started, with nearly a third (32%) admitting to feelings of shame around this perfectly natural part of puberty.
As well as understanding more about their bodies and feeling less fear around the changes they will experience, the betty bus is having a positive impact on girls’ ability to overcome taboo and talk about their periods. More than half (55%) of girls said they felt more comfortable talking about their periods after their betty bus session. The young people’s perspective is supported by teachers who took part in the research, 87% of whom feel that their pupils have been more comfortable talking about periods after visiting the bus. In fact, 96% of teachers agree that the betty bus has been beneficial for their students.
Becky Hipkiss, Education Manager at betty for schools said: “The tremendously positive impact of the betty bus and the overwhelming number of requests we have received for it are both cause for celebration and pause for thought. We’re delighted that young people get so much from their experience and that teachers see it as so valuable, but this also highlights the real need for a change to the way we teach about periods”
“We’re launching the new bus because, simply, there is a huge demand for a new way of talking about periods. There are thousands more young people who will benefit from a new approach to period education, and we want to create a generation of young people truly at ease talking about periods.”
The second betty bus will be developed and on the road by next September, and will allow betty for schools to visit an estimated 380 schools over the coming year. To join our waiting list of schools, fill in our simple betty bus request form here.