England will fund free sanitary products for school and college students after teachers raised concern that some girls were skipping lessons during their period because they could not afford to buy tampons and pads.

"In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year," Finance Minister Philip Hammond said in a budget update on Wednesday.

More than 137,700 girls missed school in 2017 due to "period poverty", and a quarter of all young women had at some point been forced to use tissues or cotton wool, or double up on underwear, because they did not have sanitary products, according to a survey by sanitary pad manufacturer Always quoted by the Independent newspaper.