Sex education and teenage pregnancy

All schools deliver sex and relationships education as part of their curriculum. Support is available for young people who are pregnant.

Overall, teenage pregnancy rates in North Yorkshire are lower than the national average but there are areas in the county where they are higher.

The majority of young people under 16 are not sexually active despite what their friends or the media might say. In North Yorkshire, 83 per cent of young people under 16 are not sexually active, which means most young people choose to wait until they are older.

Support for pregnant teenagers

Schools should provide support during pregnancy and after the baby is born. This should aim to keep a young person in education and to return to full-time education as soon as possible after the birth, with childcare support. Pregnancy is not a reason for exclusion from school. Health and safety should not be used as a reason to prevent a pregnant pupil attending school.

No more than 18 calendar weeks' authorised absence is allowed to cover the period immediately before and after the birth. Absence for ante-natal classes, and if the baby is ill, should be classified as authorised. See the Department for Education guidance on the education of school age parents for more information.

All pregnant teenagers and teenage parents are entitled to additional support through the 0-5 healthy child team and prevention service. The young parents programme provides a series of visits covering a range of topics around pregnancy, birth and parenting. To register for the young parents programme, telephone 01609 780780.

Sexual health and relationships

All schools must have a policy on the topic of sex and relationships. All schools deliver sex and relationships education as part of the science curriculum and most do as part of the wider PSHE programme. Contact your child's school to find out what this involves. Good quality sex and relationships education has a protective function as young people who rated it well were more likely to choose to start having sex later, and were more likely to use condoms and contraception if they did have sex. See an overview of what to expect

Find details of sexual health services for young people in North Yorkshire and the location and opening times of contraception and sexual health services

Talking to your child about sex and relationships

Young people are bombarded by mixed messages from friends, the media and the internet about sex and relationships, so it's important to talk to your child so they know how to stay safe and have the confidence to make informed decisions.

A parent talking to their child about sex and relationships has a protective factor as they are more likely to have healthy relationships and delay becoming sexually active.

Access the sex education and the family planning association websites for tips on how to approach the subject with your child.