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 for example, 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.
Do you have a plan in place?
If any of the learners that you are supporting are sexually active, there is a real possibility that a pregnancy may occur. Pregnancies are not dependant on socio-economic factors. Any student, from any background, who is sexually active could get pregnant.
If a learning provider has considered what would happen if a learner presents as pregnant or a parent, if it does happen, the experience of both parties will be more calm and positive.
For a learner, it could be that the member of staff they choose to tell that they are pregnant is the first person they have told and the reaction that they get can have a profound effect on their confidence levels and likelihood to interact with other professionals in the future. For a staff member who doesn’t feel prepared for receiving the news, the situation can be stressful and uncomfortable. Preparation for the potential situation is key.
Teenage pregnancy can feel like a tricky issue to tackle but it does happen. Having a plan in place doesn’t mean that you are encouraging teenage pregnancy but does mean that the situation can be managed to make staff and learners feel confident and supported. It is vital that the senior management within the organisation have been involved in the development of a plan and support its implementation.
If you'd like a copy of the quality framework, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org