Field targets failing girls to cut teenage pregnancies

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The Independent Online
Attempts to identify failing schoolgirls to cut down teenage pregnancies are being examined by Frank Field, the social security minister, and the education minister, Stephen Byers. Mr Field believes it is possible to identify girls who are likely to become single mothers.

He told The Independent last night: "Young girls who fail at school or fail to make the transition to secondary school and then appear to be under achievers are the two groups from whom single mothers tend to come. What the Department of Education is looking at to what extent would testing help us identify these groups, so that we can improve their performance."

Mr Field sees the plan as part of the Government's commitment to move people from welfare dependency to education. Mr Byers is looking at the possibility of using results from school tests to identify groups who may be failing at school, with a view to changing the way they are taught. They will also be targeted for special advice, including the existing scheme using teenage mothers to warn them of the hard realities of childhood pregnancy. Latest figures show there are 12,803 mothers under 16.