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Britain had the highest proportion of unmarried teenage mothers of any country in the world, according to a survey of sexual activity in young women, covering 53 countries, by the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York. Although the number of 14 and 15-
A report by the Public Health Laboratory Service said one in four girls and almost one in three boys lost their virginity before the age of 16 -
A study by the Family Education Trust, published in 2000, based on information from more than 2,000 pupils in 21 English schools, said 17 out of every 100 young people from 13 to 15 were sexually active. It said home background and choice of friends had a great deal to do with whether teenagers under 16 were sexually active. Twice as many children from one-
A report by the Family Matters Institute presented to the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group pointed out that teenagers from broken homes were more likely to have under-
According to a 2005 report by Christian Research, the number of children who have had sex before their 15th birthday has more than doubled since the early 1990s. The figure was now 12 per cent.
Despite the fact that there has never been as much sex education as at present, there have been alarming rises in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among young people. New cases of gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia more than doubled between 1995 and 2000. Children of 11 and 12 are now regularly being treated for gonorrhoea, chlamydia or genital warts in clinics throughout the UK. According to the latest figures, something like a million people are catching a sexually transmitted disease each year. NHS services dealing with sexual diseases are at breaking point, and there is a serious shortage of nurses trained to deal with sexual health matters.
Chlamydia has become the most common sexually transmitted infection. Chlamydia is particularly dangerous because it does not produce symptoms in most people who have it. Its long-
Sex education programmes and the provision of free contraceptives have failed to make any sensible reduction in teenage pregnancy and abortion figures, but the Government insists that more sex education and contraceptive provision is the answer. This is despite evidence, contrary to what might be expected, that increasing the availability of contraception leads to more pregnancies and an increase in the abortion rate. According to a study reported in the Lancet, during the course of a year condoms have a 13 to 15 per cent failure rate, and a near 20 per cent failure rate for teenagers.
Dr David Paton, of Nottingham University, claimed the Government's strategy to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate may be increasing the number of pregnancies and abortions. He says the number of under-
In an attempt to reduce teenage pregnancies in Britain, the Government has legalised the sale of the morning-
Despite there being no tests on the effects of the morning-
In an effort to cut teenage pregnancy rates, the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology said morning-
The UK Government insisted that teaching sexual abstinence to children is not a viable option. Preaching at teenagers, it said, is not effective. But there is evidence that abstinence education works. A 2003 study in the journal Adolescent and Family Health found increased abstinence among 15s to 19s in the United States accounted for a 67 per cent drop in teenage pregnancy rates. A 2004 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found a 53 per cent decline in teenage pregnancy rates could be attributed to decreased sexual experience among 15 to 17-
In America, when abstinence teaching was promoted and funded by the Government, teenage pregnancy figures fell. The rate of teenage births was at its lowest since 1940, and abortions were down by 44 per cent over a period of 10 years.
Sex education policies in UK schools are currently set by school governors, and parents have the right to express their concerns to governors and to withdraw their children from sex education lessons they consider inappropriate.
The Government launched a review of sex and relationships education in February, 2008. Organisations appointed to advise the Government pushed for sex education to be given to primary school children from the age of four and for parents no longer to be able to withdraw their children from sex education lessons. Later in 2008, the Government announced that sex education would be made compulsory in all English schools for children from five to 16 years old. Children would learn about body parts from the age of five, sexual intercourse from the age of seven, and contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion and homosexuality from the age of 11.
An attempt to make sex education lessons part of the national curriculum in schools for the first time failed in 2010. The Children, Schools and Families Bill would have provided for children to be taught about sexual activity, human reproduction, pregnancy, sexual diseases, homosexuality and how to obtain contraception and the morning-
In Wales, sex and relationship education was already part of the curriculum. It is a legal requirement in Northern Ireland. There is no legal requirement in Scotland.
Image is in favour of sex education being given to children, but sex education appropriate to their ages -