HL Deb 18 June 1981 vol 421 cc815-6WA
Lord Houghton of Sowerby

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps are being taken through improved sex education in schools, and the greater use of voluntary advisory and counselling societies, to reduce teenage pregnancies, especially of girls under sixteen.

Baroness Young

Schools are already responding in a variety of ways to the need for sound sex education, and a number of local education authorities have set up working parties to advise on ways in which existing programmes could be developed. My department has published general advice on sex education in the handbookHealth Education in Schools, and we are also considering the possibility of issuing supplementary guidance on this subject.

I place particular importance on the role of parents, and on co-operation and consultation between parents and schools. The requirement in the Education (School Information) Regulations 1981 that local education authorities should inform parents about the manner and context in which schools provide sex education will foster that co-operation.

I understand that the Department of Health and Social Security makes a number of grants to voluntary bodies in relation to advice and counselling on contraception but that none of these is specifically directed to teenage pregnancies or the under-sixteens. The most relevant of these grants—to the Brook Advisory Centres—is currently under review.

House adjourned at three minutes before seven o'clock.