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Relationship education should be compulsory

20th December 2012

MPs want to see compulsory relationship classes in schools to cut rates of unplanned teenage pregnancy in the UK.

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With twice the level of teenage pregnancy as that of France and Germany, the cross-party inquiry wants relationship and contraception taught in schools alongside citizenship to help tackle the problem.

The inquiry by MPs Amber Rudd, Lorely Burt and Sandra Osborne acknowledged that the teenage pregnancy strategy of the previous government had been a success but said it should be resumed and extended to cover older age groups.

Between 1998 and 2010, teenage pregnancies fell by 24% but the numbers of babies born to women aged 15-19 remains the highest in Western Europe.

Ms Rudd said: “The evidence that we received showed that there is a high level of knowledge about contraception in young people, but a desperate absence of information about relationships.

“We are calling for relationship education in schools to prepare young men and women for adult life.”

In their report the MPs said that the failure of school-led sex education was a significant factor in the persistently high incidence of unplanned pregnancies in young people.

They recommend that the government should make sex and relationship education (SRE) statutory to allow a more consistent and comprehensive programme with clear guidelines for schools, but allow flexibility in how they deliver it.

The Department of Health has said it will study the findings of the report and will publish Government plans on sexual health early next year, with a focus on tackling unwanted pregnancies.

 

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