MINISTERS MUST end the old anomalies: the ludicrous injunction which requires primary schools to have a policy on sex education, but accepts a policy not to teach it; and a secondary curriculum which can be as narrow as HIV, sexually transmitted infections and hormone control of fertility. Surveys show young people and parents want schools to be more involved, not just teaching the mechanics, but dealing with the more difficult areas of relationships: feelings emotions and the self confidence to be able to say no.
LABOUR HAS been coy in the past about two aspects of the illegitimacy boom: first, its prevalence among the underclass and second the way in which the benefits of the welfare state, designed to palliate the impact of unwanted pregnancies, may have encouraged them. When the Tory government proposed placing unmarried mothers in hostels rather than awarding them the luxury of a council flat because it seemed to reward fecklessness, Labour bitterly opposed it. On this at least, power seems to have brought a measure of responsibility.
THE IDEA appears to be that boys and young men could be made to stop getting girls pregnant, if only they knew that they would be forced to pay child support as soon as they start work. Even teenagers on benefits will have to pay a fiver. Just as young people enjoy a lower minimum wage, so the wages of their sin are to be set at a pounds 5-a-week fine. Anybody who believes that teenagers will hold back from sex because it might cost them a fiver should have got out more when they were young. (Mick Hume)Reuse content