Today the Office for National Statistics released the latest teenage pregnancy data for 2008 and Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, announced the continuation of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in England.
Since 1998 teenage pregnancy rates for under 18s have reduced by 13.3% to 40.4 per 1,000 for 2008. This is good news and we now need to continue doing what we know works; improving access to sexual health services, good quality sex and relationships education in school and the community and supporting parents to talk to their children about relationships.
I really welcome the refresh of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and the renewed commitment to young people’s sexual health. There is some excellent work taking place in some areas and what we need to do now is to learn from those areas who have seen the biggest decreases and make that excellent work the standard for all teenage pregnancy programmes.
Yesterday the Children, Schools and Families Bill which includes making Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education statutory completed its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.
We eagerly await its progress through the House of Lords and the Bill receiving Royal Assent before it becomes law. Making PSHE Education statutory will provide a clear framework and ensure that it will be inclusive of every child and young person combining legal/civil rights, health, and cultural and religious perspectives.
Every day at Brook we see young people whose education about relationships and sex has not been good enough. For too long young people have been saying that the sex education they receive is too little, too late and too biological because schools are only required to teach what is in the science curriculum. Statutory PSHE will mean that all children and young people will receive the education and information they are entitled to.