Department for Education
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Government response to the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group's sixth annual report
Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo and Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron yesterday welcomed the publication of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group’s sixth annual report and will be responding to all the recommendations next year.
They called on local authorities and Primary Care Trusts to continue prioritising the Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy beyond December 2010 – putting a particular focus on improving sex and relationships education (SRE) in and out of schools and helping sexually active teenagers use contraception effectively. In addition to the £45m provided for improved contraceptive services over the last two years, local areas have recently received additional support through the Contraception Worth Talking About campaign, which was launched on 30 November 2009. This will be further supported by legislation to make SRE a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2011.
The Strategy has seen a 10.5% reduction in under 18 conception rates – reversing the previous upward trend – with teenage births at the lowest level for 15 years. Most recent quarterly data from 2008 shows a further downward trend. Local authorities and PCTs that prioritise teenage pregnancy and fully implement the strategy have seen much bigger reductions of over 25% - showing that change is possible even in deprived areas.
The current Strategy is based on the best international evidence, which demonstrates that comprehensive SRE, coupled with effective use of contraception, can bring down teenage conception rates. This evidence, together with learning from local areas and the views of young people and parents will inform the next phase of the Strategy, which will be published at the end of February.
Children's Minister, Dawn Primarolo said today
"Teenage pregnancy has huge costs to local authorities, the NHS and most importantly to young people and the children born to teenage parents. We know what works to bring down teenage conceptions - giving young people the knowledge and confidence to resist pressure to have early sex and to use contraception effectively when they do become sexually active. That's why, from 2011, we are making it compulsory for all schools to teach sex and relationship education.
"The progress we have made so far in reducing the under-18 conception rate reflects the hard work of leaders and front line staff across the country. But we know there is more to be done. Sustained investment in reducing teenage pregnancy is working, which is why it will remain a priority beyond 2010."
Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron said:
"Contraception is available free on the NHS to everyone, including young people. We are working to ensure that young people can access all forms of contraception at times and in places which are easy for them. That is why the Government has recently invested substantial funds - £26.8 million in 2008/09 and a further £20.5 million in 2009/10 - both to ensure that young people are aware of all the contraceptive choices which are available and to work with the NHS to improve access to local services."
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