HC Deb 18 June 2004 vol 422 cc1145-6W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department takes to involve parents when under-aged pregnant girls seek the advice of a health worker at school; and if he will make a statement. [174532]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

The Government continue to support the provision of school-based health services where the school identifies a need. The decision to provide such services, and the content of that service, is for the individual school governing body in consultation with pupils, parents and the school community, information about the services provided should be included in the school's Sex and Relationship Education policy. The aim of school-based health services is to improve young people's access to professional advice and support on a range of health, relationship and emotional issues which may be troubling them.

For all consultations on contraception, sexual health and pregnancy the legal framework is clear. It involves assessing the young person's competence to understand the choices they are making, under guidelines established in 1986. Professionals are expected to encourage under-16s to talk to their parents and help them find ways of overcoming their apprehension. But where requested, a young person's right to confidentiality is respected unless there are serious child protection issues.