Labour Government’s Sex Education Programme is a £300 million failure


Back in the early 2000’s, the then Labour government decided it had to do something about teenage pregnancy in the UK — and with good reason.  For comparison, the rate per thousand of Under-16 pregnancies in the UK was running around 5.5 per thousand compared with (for example) Ireland or the Netherlands, both around one per thousand.

They set themselves a bold target: to reduce the Under-18 conception rate rate by 50% between 2004 and 2010, from around 40 per thousand to around twenty, and they set in place their “Teenage Pregnancy Strategy” (TPS).

And what did they do to achieve this result?  They committed £300 million to a widespread campaign in schools, which included confidential health services, sex education, contraception, and the morning-after pill.  Yet the 2009 Under-18 rate (the latest for which I have statistics) was almost unchanged, as is the Under-16 rate.  There was a very slight reduction from the peak year of 1998, which the government liked to use for comparison, but nowhere near the target 50%.   A vast effort and expense, which achieved almost nothing.

Except, it did perhaps achieve one thing.  Over the period of the campaign, there was a sharp increase in the level of sexually transmitted diseases amongst teenagers.  We can’t prove that this is cause and effect (and to be fair the overall rate had been rising since before the campaign).  But the data strongly suggest that the campaign may have been a contributory factor.

Comparative studies were also undertaken on areas offering “emergency birth control” (the morning-after pill) compared to those not offering this service.  The result was unequivocal: the service did not cut conception or abortion rates, but it did lead to a 12% differential increase in STDs amongst under-16s.

One other striking statistic.  A mother called Mrs. Gillick went to court in 1983 to challenge the legal position that medical practitioners did not need to advise parents when under-16s sought contraceptive advice.  The court initially ruled in Mrs. Gallick’s favour — and the under-16 family planning rate rate dropped dramatically from 17 per thousand to 12 .  But the government challenged the court decision, and a higher court reversed it in December 1984.  Thereafter the rate rapidly returned to the previous level and continued to rise after that.  Conclusion: requiring medical practitioners to inform parents would reduce the numbers of teenage girls seeking family planning advice, but would not affect the rate of teenage conception.

How do I know all these things?  On March 23rd my good colleague Nirj Deva MEP (London) organised a seminar on “The Ecology of Human Relations”, and the first speaker was professor David Paton, and economist from the Nottingham University Business School, (picture above).  As he is the first to admit, he is not a child psychologist nor a social worker, nor is he making a moral case.  He doesn’t work with children.  He simply studies statistics on his computer.  But all his reports are professionally sourced and published.

And the conclusion is clear: the sex education industry is costing a fortune, and arguably doing more harm than good in the process.  Prof. Pater showed a one-minute clip from a cartoon sex education film shown to seven-year olds.   It illustrated sexual intercourse in highly graphic terms, and was virtually a commercial for sex, with no warnings or qualifications attached. No wonder teenage pregnancy rates are so stubbornly high.


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12 Responses to Labour Government’s Sex Education Programme is a £300 million failure

  1. Sue says:

    Firstly, the media and what it produces is often seen as the social norm. If we try to mirror what we see as “true life” (teenage pregnancies in soaps etc.), then it becomes acceptable.

    You and I both remember when TV programmes were not like that Roger. They upheld a certain standard of behaviour which was considered the “norm”.

    There is much too much swearing on TV and I’m not a prude, you only have to read my blog to see that. I’m an Eastender and I swear like a trooper but we never swore in front of our kids and men didn’t swear in front of “nice” women!

    Secondly, I had a great relationship with my daughters and they often brought their friends home. I became the “mum” they used to speak to when they couldn’t speak to their own parents for one reason or another.

    Many of them hated it at home and most of them planned to get themselves pregnant in order to escape and be kept by the state. It was an easy way out and never failed to work as far as I could see.

    The only way you are going to stop this is by making the parents of those children responsible for the pregnancies.

    Lastly, there is absolutely no reason why children under the age of puberty should be educated in sex. I can just imagine the horror on my daughters’ faces if I’d have told them at 5 or 7. Children ask those sorts of questions when they are ready and because all children are different, the only people qualified to do this, are the parents who know them better than anyone else does.

    Experts are literally killing innocence. Children under the age of 10 should still be living in fairyland, believe in Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.

    They should not be dragged into adulthood before they are ready. My daughter is very worried about this. Her daughter starts school in September and she is seriously considering home schooling because of this.

    If history lessons are to be replaced by “social diversity studies” and “humanity subjects like sex education” are introduced to small children, to be quite honest, I don’t blame her.

    A teachers job is to educate in the core subjects. Reading, writing and arithmetic. Whatever happened to history, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, English, Maths and PE? All those prime subjects that I was taught in Primary and Grammar School?

    That’s all parents require from teachers. We don’t want our kids being taught the “political or social ideologies of progressives”.. if such subjects are to be broached, they should be unbiased in their content and open for discussion.

    Keep politics, sociology and psychology out of education. Bring back core subject teaching and discipline and you won’t go wrong.

  2. Sue says:

    Look at this. Why are the government trying to brainwash our children?

    This is the sort of “progressive” crap I’m on about. It’s called overstepping the mark, how dare they!

    It’s a matter of opinion whether you think the census is important or as many of us do, an invasion of privacy in it’s intimacy.

    I’m just glad I don’t have children at school. I’m sure I’d be banned by now.

  3. Peter Hulme Cross says:

    I agree with everything Sue has to say in her long comment above.

    What also concerns me greatly is the increase in Sexually Transmitted Diseases among young people. Diseases which I thought had all but been stamped out, like Syphyllis, are on the increase along with Chlamydia, and others, which can do a lot of damage if left untreated.

    Sex ‘education’ as currently taught has a lot to answer for.

  4. An excellent blog post, and I also agree with many of Sue’s comments (amongst the replies). The failure of policies which this Labour initiative involved, is further evidence of the failure and decadence of so-called “progressive” or liberal ideology. Indeed, the “liberal agenda” has caused massive problems for our society, particularly since the sixties. Sadly but not surprisingly, the relevance of Christianity has not even been mentioned on this page (until now). Sadly, the moral decline of our nation (and many other countries) continues.

  5. Andrew Shakespeare says:

    Let’s get a bunch of hormonal teenagers in a class together and get them to think about sex for forty minutes. That’ll stop ’em doing it!

    What I’ve noticed about sex-education curricula is the way they cover just about everything except not having sex. There’s enough peer-pressure on children as it is without their teachers adding to the impression that everybody is at it and there’s something a bit odd about a child who isn’t.

    In all their lessons on how to do it, what happens when they do it, alternative ways to do it, homosexuality, bisexuality, how babies are made, how to stop babies being made, how to avoid STD’s and a host of other subjects, why can’t a few minutes be set aside for a reminder that simply not doing it is an option.

    How about a little advice to the children to wait until they feel ready to become sexually active? Anything wrong with a little old-fashioned “I’m saving myself for that one special person”?

  6. The last paragraph of Andrew Shakespeare’s reply, raises some interesting and highly pertinent questions. Sadly, in the UK (for example) there are many people (not just secularists) who think that it is simply too late, to develop a society in which abstinence is generally accepted. Whatever your point of view, Christians have a moral obligation to live by example (irrespective of where they happen to live).

  7. Sue says:

    Julian, unfortunately, religion is another contentious issue in schools. Gone are the days when you had morning assembly with hymns and prayers (whether you were a believer or not).

    I am an atheist myself but sent my daughters to a Christian Lower School for two reasons. 1) I wanted them to have the comfort of faith while they were young and later the choice of whether to join the Christian Church and 2) the morals that the Christian Church teaches are a good and healthy recipe for life!

  8. A good reply Sue – thoughtful and sincere! Christians all have a moral duty, to hope and pray for the return of such devotional routines in our school system.

  9. Laura Bamforth says:

    well said everyone. I’m a mother to a 5 year old who is going to get her first “sex education” class in the next few weeks and I’m terrified. I face the dilemma of having her exposed to the lessons taught by her teachers or opting to take her out of them and risk her hearing it in the playground after anyway. It’s the sheer lack of options that upsets me so much, either way my baby is going to lose her innocents and there is nothing that I can do about it. I refuse to accept that at 5 years old she needs to be thinking about these kind of things, instead of “do fairies paint butterflies wings?”

    I am her parent and as such should be the one to talk to her when I feel she is ready.

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