Teenage pregnancy rate drops in Shropshire
Better sex education has been credited for a decline in teenage pregnancy rates in Shropshire.
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) quarterly report on conceptions in women aged under 18 shows that from April to June 2018 there was a five per cent decrease compared to the previous year.
The rate of conceptions in girls aged 15 to 17 for the county was 11.2 per cent, lower than the West Midlands average of 19.8 per cent.
Shropshire Council said efforts to reach national targets to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in recent years had led agencies to commit to equipping young people with the skills, confidence and information to make important choices.
This has included the creation of Shropshire’s award-winning PSHE and Respect Yourself Relationship and Sex Education Programmes, developed by their public health team for schools across the county.
The programmes aim not only to tackle teenage pregnancy, but also address safeguarding issues and improve the self-confidence and self-esteem of young people.
Work in these areas has included new resources for teachers, support for non-teaching staff about use of language and responding to pupils’ questions, as well as running parents’ meetings and working with governors.
Shropshire Council also commissions the 0-19 Public Health Nursing service, which provides information and support to young people on a wide range of issues including relationships and sexual health.
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, added: “We are working closely with children and young people, including those who are most at risk, parents and partner organisations, to improve ways that young people receive appropriate, accurate information about relationships and sexual health.
"These current figures show that the range of education, prevention and support offered is making a difference. A lot of effort has been put in to reduce the figures, and it’s heartening to see.”
Since the national teenage pregnancy strategy was launched in 2000, the under-18 conception rate in Shropshire has fallen by a total of 34 per cent.