Schoolgirl pregnancies still on the rise

The number of underage girls falling pregnant has continued to rise, according to new figures. Despite Labour's continued attempts to end Britain's embarrassing record of teenage pregnancies (the highest number in western Europe), girls as young as 10-years-old are reportedly among those dealing with the onset of motherhood.

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In fact, since 2002 there have been 63,487 pregnancies among the under-15s in England and Wales – and that amounts to a shocking 23 conceptions each day. During that time, 15 girls became pregnant at 10, while a further 39 were expecting by the age of 11.

The shocking figures suggest that the Government's £300 million Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which aimed to halve the pregnancy rate among under-18s, has failed miserably. Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, blamed manufacturers and retailers for encouraging young girls to dress and act in a "sexually precocious" way. But he also had some harsh words with regards to sex education.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Wells said: "There are far too many schools telling children that they are entitled to become sexually active when it is 'right for them' and teaching them that they are being very responsible if they use contraception – regardless of their age. As a result of this grossly irresponsible approach, some children are becoming sexually active at an early age when they would not otherwise have done so."

And the figures could be grossly underestimated since children who have had miscarriages or illegal abortions slip under the radar.

But is it, as Norman Wells claims, down to our "highly sexualised society", or has sex education merely served to encourage sexual activity among Britain's youngsters?