One of the issues that we sometimes face is that a young person who is still in learning - either at school, college or with another learning provider becomes pregnant or finds out they are about to become a dad. This is a situation that can present difficulties for the young people involved, as well as for staff, not least because there are a whole bundle of emotions involved - the young person is likely to be nervous of sharing their news because they won't be sure of the reaction they might get. The staff member is likely to be equally nervous, because their reaction is really important to the young people they are supporting in learning.
Different learning providers deal with this situation in different ways and it's fair to say some better than others. In all likelihood, it's a lack of confidence amongst learning providers about what the best course of action is to take, in some cases there's a need for staff training so that there is a clearly shared and understood process in place for supporting a learner under these circumstances.
It's in everyone's best interests for a young person to stay in learning - the future outcomes for them and their children will be much better if they've finished their education. There are practical considerations that need to be made to accommodate this but these are possible with good communication and planning. With positive support, young people can go on to achieve great things, we are working with several fantastic young women who are either at, or going to, University.
We've worked with a range of schools, colleges and other learning providers, including those from the voluntary and community sector, within Leicestershire, as well as with pregnant teenagers and young parents who have lived through the experience. We've listened to what made a difference to the young people, as well as to the practical considerations a learning provider might face. We've come up with a quality framework which identifies basic steps for a learning provider to take to ensure that they are offering appropriate support to help expectant young parents and young parents to balance the transition to parenthood and their learning. It offers practical support and practice examples. We're currently piloting our framework through the assessment process but will be rolling it out across Leicestershire during 2015/16.
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