HC Deb 28 February 2001 vol 363 cc661-3W
Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what steps have been taken to ensure that parents are notified that supply of emergency contraception will be permitted under a school's sex and relationships education policy; [151128]

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that parents are properly consulted before a school adopts a policy of supplying emergency contraception; [151127]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of schools which have made emergency contraception available to pupils. [151126]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 26 February 2001]: Our sex and relationship education guidance, published last July, clearly states that governing bodies and head teachers should consult parents in developing their sex and relationship education policy to ensure that they develop policies which reflect the parents' wishes and the

years to 2003–04. This comprises £220,000 in 2001–02, £375,000 in 2002–03 and £375,000 in 2003–04. It will be for Sefton local education authority, working with local schools and within guidelines provided by the Department, to allocate this new funding to individual school projects.

culture of the community they serve. All schools must have a policy which is made available for inspection and to parents.

In the few cases where school nurses are dispensing contraception, this should be made clear in a school's sex and relationship policy, which has to be agreed with parents. These arrangements should not proceed until parents have been consulted.

Ofsted is statutorily required to evaluate and comment on a school's sex and relationship policy. From January 2000, as part of its new inspection framework, Ofsted is required to evaluate and report on how well schools work in partnership with parents.

We have made no estimates of the number of schools dispensing emergency contraception. However, Ofsted is aware of a few instances where emergency contraception has been dispensed by school nurses.

Improving teenagers' access to contraceptive advice, including emergency contraception, is a key strand of the Government's teenage pregnancy strategy.

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