Early pregnancy and education in the UK

Case Studies & Research
20 p.

Despite a successful ten year strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies implemented by the Labour Government between 1999 and 2010, the UK still has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Western Europe (only Greece had a higher rate in 2017) (Office for National Statistics, 2017). The majority of teenage pregnancies are unplanned and around half end in abortion (Nuffield Trust, 2019). The association between early pregnancy and economic deprivation remains significant, as does the association between conception before the age of eighteen and lower educational levels. Low educational attainment is both a cause and a consequence of teenage pregnancy. Research has shown that in the UK, despite legal and policy measures to ensure continuing education for young women during and after pregnancy, many are still defacto excluded from schools and other educational institutions for a range of reasons, including lack of appropriate facilities within schools, discriminatory and stigmatising attitudes, and lack of access to childcare facilities. Teenage mothers are lesslikely to finish their education, are more likely to bring up their child alone and in poverty and have a higher risk of mental health problems than older mothers. This research points to the need for ongoing efforts both to reduce the rates of teenage pregnancy, and to ensure that young women who become pregnant at a young age are better supported to remain in or to return to education in order to ensure better long-term outcomes for themselves and their children.

Record created by