The number of gymslip mums on the increase

Teen pregnancy. Picture posed by model.
Teen pregnancy. Picture posed by model.

Doncaster has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country, according to new figures.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics for 2010 show that Doncaster has a conception rate of 57.1 per thousand girls aged 15–17 - 21.6 more than the average for England and Wales value at 35.5.

The figures also show an increase in the number of girls falling pregnant in the borough from 2009 when the conception rate was 51.8.

There has also been a sharp increase in the number of conceptions under the age of 16 rising to 70 in 2010 from 41 in 2009.

The rise comes despite Doncaster Council pledging to overhaul sex education in schools last year in a bid to slash the borough’s high rates of teenage pregnancy.

Doncaster was among the worst 30 areas highlighted in England and Wales.

A spokesman for NHS Doncaster said: “We recognise that there is still a problem in Doncaster and significant investment is being put into this area to ensure the health standards meet the needs of young people.

“There is positive evidence that young women do have higher expectations and are making more informed decisions about pregnancy.

“There are a number of services available to young women but it is important we ensure they are actually engaging with these services and to ensure this is happening there needs to be a multi agency approach.”

Last year Doncaster Council made plans to improve sex education in schools after a Ofsted report into the authority’s troubled children and young people’s service described the teaching programme as “deficient”.

Health and education representatives joined council officers to oversee a complete review of the borough’s sex and relationship education provision.

Speaking at the time Chris Pratt, Doncaster Council’s director of children and young people’s services said: “From speaking to children it is clear they don’t rate the sex and relationship education they receive in and out of schools. This supports what Ofsted found.

“We’ve started the process of fundamentally reviewing this area.”

Nationally the picture was more positive with teen pregnancies down to a new record low.

The new data shows the under 18 conception rate for 2010 is the lowest since 1969 at 35.5 conceptions per thousand girls aged 15–17. That equated to 34,633 in 2010, a 9.5 per cent reduction on the previous 12 months.

Jo Moxon, the council’s assistant director of education, said: “All of our schools, and in particular academies, manage their own curriculum and teaching on sex and relationships education.

“However, we recognise there is still more work to be done to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Doncaster and we are working in partnership with our schools and other professionals, including health, in-order to achieve this.”