School children learning about the menopause ‘is a great thing’, says Head

Educating children about the menopause as part of a new plan to improve women’s services across Wales “is a great thing”, says a headteacher.

The move is one of multiple changes needed to improve menopause treatment, according to a new report by the All-Wales Menopause Task and Finish Group.

The Welsh Government has agreed to implement all the recommendations over the next 10 years.

Jennifer Ford, headteacher of Treorchy Comprehensive School in the Welsh valleys, said: “It’s a bit like pregnancy. I’ve never thought of that as an illness but it does need to be understood.

“There’s a lot of work in our curriculum, and rightly so, about menstruation and how it affects younger women, but I strongly believe we should also include the menopause.

“Pupils should learn about what it means, of course, from a scientific point of view, but actually what it means and how it can affect you in work and your personal life”.

Report’s main recommendations

The report highlights several issues with the current state of menopause services in Wales and provides recommendations to improve them.

The five most significant changes are:

  1. Education: School pupils should be taught about the perimenopause and the menopause, while universities and workplaces are advised to do the same.
  2. Cut-down waiting times: Waiting times for women seeking initial help for menopausal symptoms should not exceed four weeks, or specialist help in 12 weeks.
  3. Raise awareness: Enhance public awareness of the menopause through expanding the information and resources available on the NHS Wales website.
  4. More research: Develop an ongoing research programme on the menopause, focusing particularly on treatment options for women with pre-existing health conditions.
  5. A national standard: The Welsh Government should require that all seven health boards meet BMS Menopause Practice Standards around training in women’s health and the menopause. 

You can read the full report here, or watch this video.

What is menopause?

Watch a short video explaining menopause here.

According to the NHS, menopause is when your period stops due to lower hormone levels. You reach menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months. This usually affects women between the ages of 45 to 55, but in some cases can start earlier or later. You can find more information at Menopause – NHS (

As well as menopause, women can experience perimenopause. This is when you have symptoms of menopause before your periods actually stop.

Both menopause and perimenopause can cause symptoms like anxiety, brain fog and hot flushes.

Fair Treatment for Women of Wales, a charity focused on women’s health, say that the severity of menopause symptoms should not be overlooked.

Around 10% of women in the UK leave their jobs because of un-manageable symptoms caused by menopause. The charity’s campaign #notjusthotflushes outlines the more serious ways women can be affected.

You can find out more about their campaign at Menopause – FTWW.