pounds 10m plan to cut teenage pregnancy unveiled

TEENAGE GIRLS will be taught to value education and ambition more than early sexual adventures with the help of a pounds 10m package of measures that is being announced by the Governmenttoday.

Classes intended to raise girls' expectations so they aim to achieve more than a life on benefits with a child will be part of the programme, which will also pay for more creches for teenage mothers.

Britain has the worst record in Europe for teenage pregnancies. In England there are 30,000 conceptions a year by under-18s and 10,000 by under-16s. Nearly two-thirds of the girls give birth, and 90 per cent live on benefits.

Earlier this year the Government said that it aimed to reduce the risk of long-term social exclusion for teenage parents and their children. The pounds 10m will go to local authorities in areas with the highest proportion of teenage pregnancies, and to inner-city areas. It will fund projects warning young people of the disadvantages of teenage parenthood.

Yesterday Estelle Morris, the Education minister, said: "This money gives schools a real chance to change the fortunes of girls at risk of becoming mothers at a young age. The new money will support innovative projects in school aimed at raising attainment and self-esteem."

The money will go to the six inner-city areas in the Government's Excellence in Cities programme: London, Manchester and Salford, Liverpool and Knowsley, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford and Sheffield and Rotherham.

The worst areas for teenage pregnancies are Wansbeck in Northumberland and Lambeth, Hackney, Lewisham and Southwark in London.

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