Schoolgirls as young as 10 are getting pregnant in the UK, according to statistics reported by a newspaper Monday.Over the past eight years, at least 15 girls aged 10 and 39 aged 11 in primary schools, were found to be expecting. According to an exclusive report in The Sun, about 300 others aged 13 or below get pregnant every year in England and Wales.
It reported that since 2002 there have been 63,487 pregnancies among under-15s or almost 23 each day.
The shocking figures were released after a Freedom of Information request by The Sun.
They show that since 2002, there have been 268 pregnant girls aged 12, 2,527 aged 13, 14,777 aged 14 and 45,861 aged 15.
Up until now, the youngest girl reported to be pregnant in the UK conceived aged 11 in Scotland and gave birth aged 12.
The true number of children who fall pregnant could be even higher as there is no way of adding illegal abortions and miscarriages to the data.
Government statistics show 60 per cent of under-age pregnant girls have an abortion. Among the youngest, this figure is thought to be much higher.
But there is no breakdown by age for abortions or births in the statistics – nor the circumstances in which girls became pregnant. Similar figures for boys becoming fathers are not available as it is often hard to prove who is the real dad.
Britain has one of Europe’s highest under-16 pregnancy rates. Ministers have unsuccessfully poured millions into schemes to tackle the problem.
Sociology Professor Frank Furedi, from the University of Kent, said the figures were “tragic”.
“They show the consequences of the sexualisation of childhood.”
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: “There are far too many schools telling children they are entitled to become sexually active when it is ‘right for them’.”
Anastasia de Waal, of think tank Civitas, said: “We have kids behaving as adults, not realising the complications.
“Often the girls feel they have to have sex to please their older boyfriends.”
Meawhile, in another report, The Sun has also learnt that girls as young as 13 are to be offered pregnancy tests at school in a controversial scheme while Chlamydia screening and referrals to sex specialists will also be available at drop-in clinics in secondary schools.
Council chiefs wrote to parents of girls aged 13 and over to promote the pilot scheme at five schools in Liverpool. But family campaigners said the plan sends out the wrong message.
Adrian Rogers of Family Focus said: “It’s going to promote promiscuity.”
Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust said: “It sends out the message it’s normal for schoolchildren to engage in sexual activity.”
The pregnancy rate for girls aged 15 to 17 is nearly 52 per 1,000 in Liverpool. The national average is 41.7.
Liverpool Primary Care Trust said accessible sexual health services will help cut teen pregnancies.