In my investigation I will be looking into the levels of teenage pregnancies within Wales. I chose this topic as I find it interesting, and it is also relevant to the CACHE childcare course that I am studying. I have friends that have had babies at a young age and I know that it is sometimes hard to bring up a baby. I am going to compare the rates of teenage pregnancies in Wales to those in the Netherlands, and see if there is a big difference within the statistics. I chose the Netherlands because when I was looking for some statistics on this subject I found that the rates of teenage pregnancy here was the lowest within Europe. I will use primary research, like questionnaires, and secondary research, like articles off of the internet, and books and journals to support my investigation.
Teenage pregnancies have been a debated problem within society for years. Many people think that teenage mothers wont be able to support there child as they may not have a stable income, and sometimes even a stable home and family. Most teenage mothers are seen as ‘bad parents‘, and are sometimes looked down at in society, even though it is not a new thing, as teenage pregnancy has been at a high for more than a decade. In 2010, the Welsh Government released that the rate of conception for teenager’s age 15 – 17 years was 40.1 per 1000 girls. The rate for girls under 16 years was 7.3 per 1000 girls. Young teenagers within Wales sometimes use pregnancy as an access into benefits and housing. Others may have them for ‘Material gain’ and use them as more of an accessory rather than a human child.
In 2010, Merthyr Tydfil, a small area within the South Wales valley area, held the highest rate of teenage pregnancies for girl’s ages 15-17 years old, throughout Wales and England. Statistics showed a rate of 73.5 conceptions per 1000 girls in the Merthyr area. The welsh government revealed that inspection reports had shown that most schools in wales had not been delivering sex education to pupils with the high standards that are expected.
The majority of schools do teach PSHE (personal, social and health education) but the class is not compulsory, and parents can opt-out of their children taking part in the lesson. A survey showed that 4 in every 10 pupils had not received any sex education at school but Plans have been made for schools in wales to higher the standard of sex education so that there may be a decrease in the number of conceptions, and also the rates of STI’s. BBC news stated, “proposals to tackle teenage pregnancies in wales where unveiled last summer with plans for better sex education to be taught.”
Within my questionnaire I asked the people of varied age and gender if they thought that teenage pregnancy is high in Wales, and all 16 female and 5 male participants said ‘Yes’ they think the rates are high. The graphs below show the age and gender of the participants, and the information that I had gathered from them about the number of teenage pregnancies within Wales.
Debates have been made over weather the age that schools within the UK implement sex education at an earlier age have shown a lot of controversy. Some people think that teaching young children about sex will give them the knowledge, and they will then have sex at an earlier age. Others disagree and think that teaching children sex education will allow them to see the negative affect of sex and will put them off. In countries such as Holland, sex education is taught to children as young as 5 years old but is gradually taught over the school period. The curriculum for sex education in Holland is:
1. From the age of 5 – children will learn about body parts and animal reproduction.
2. From the age of 7 – children are now taught about puberty and intercourse.
3. From the age of 11 – children are taught about pregnancy, contraception and safe sex.
The way the Dutch teach sex education is vastly different to how the curriculum within wales and England tells practitioners to teach children within the UK. The Netherland has the lowest teen pregnancy rate in Europe with the figures for conception, at a rate of only 5 births per 1000 girls. There is a huge difference in statistics for teenage pregnancy in the Netherlands to Wales, with the statistics for welsh teenage girls becoming pregnant at a high rate of 40.1 per 1000. Siebe Heutzepeter, the head teacher of a school in Amsterdam stated, “The English are embarrassed to talk about sex. They are too squeamish ….. there is no point in telling children just to say ‘no’– this is a liberal country: you need to tell them why they are saying ‘no‘ and when to say ‘yes’.”
Contraception is freely talked about in the Netherlands, with condom demonstrations being shown to children as young as 10 years old, but children aren’t just shown and told about what condoms do. Children are taught about relationships, emotions, and also have debates about what to say and do if a boy refuses to wear and condom and how to maintain self-respect. Another thing that affects the rate of teenage pregnancy in the Netherlands is that there is a social mark of disgrace for teenagers that conceive. Within Wales social attitudes towards teenage pregnancy are very different to that in countries like the Netherlands, and in poorer areas of Wales and England teenage pregnancy has become normalised.
Within my questionnaire I asked people whether they think that sex education should be taught within schools at a younger age. Information showed that 2 men and 11 women thought that it should be taught at a younger age, the most common answer for this being, ‘They will be given the knowledge of contraception and will know more about the dangers of unprotected sex (STI’s)’. The rest of the participants, 3 men and 5 women said that sex education shouldn’t be taught to young children, giving reasons like, ‘NO, as it would just teach them how to have sex at an earlier age’ and ‘Knowing more about sex will make them want to experiment more with it!’. Below is a graph to show the information gathered from the participants.
This shows that most people think that sex education should be taught at a young age, as it would affect the rates of teenage pregnancy in Wales. Some said that it should be started young but not as young as 5, but maybe at the age of 7/8.