Over 80 per cent of 18-year-old girls are sexually active, with almost 1 in 5 of those having been pregnant at least once, new shocking statistics have shown.
More than 30 per cent of the pregnant girls went on to have an abortion while almost half had the baby and 18 per cent suffered a miscarriage, according to a new Government backed report.
There has been criticism that the findings show just how bad the teenage pregnancy crisis is.
The study found that the groups most likely to become sexually active at younger ages were those living with neither parent by GCSE age, or those who were NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) at 18.
Over 30 per cent of sexually active teens said they had lost their virginity before the age of consent.
Of all the teens questioned 17 per cent said at 18 years of age they had never had sexual intercourse.
The figures also showed a “noticeable trend” between attainment at GCSE and pregnancy at 18.
The findings on teenagers’ sexual activities were based on asking over 8,500 young people.
A Department for Education spokesman commented: “Clearly there is still much more to be done so young people make safe and healthy choices. We will set out our next steps in due course.”
The findings are from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England.
The previous Government’s attempts to tackle teenage pregnancy were blasted as a “disaster”.
The Labour Government relied on strategies of pushing sex education and contraception to teenagers.
The aim was to cut the teenage pregnancy rate by 50 per cent in the years between 1998 and 2010.
But the pregnancy rate only dropped by 13.3 per cent over the ten years from 1998 to 2008 – and the real number of teenage conceptions may be masked by the easy availability of the morning-after pill.
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, has said: “With all its emphasis on sex education and handing out contraceptives to schoolchildren under the age of consent, it is giving them the green light to experiment sexually”.