Classes in parenting for 14s are ‘bonkers’

Parenting lessons for kids as young as 14 are “bonkers” and more sex education is “part of the problem – not part of the solution”, according to one newspaper commentator.

Harry Phibbs of the Daily Mail was responding to plans by Children’s Secretary Ed Balls that school children should learn about parenting.

Mr Balls thinks the lessons would help teenagers to delay having children until they are ready.

But Mr Phibbs warned that teenagers “should not be conditioned” to think that having sex and raising children is normal at such an early age.

Britain currently has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe with 22 girls aged 15 and under becoming pregnant every day.

The parenting lessons would form part of the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education curriculum.

Mr Phibbs went on to call for PSHE to be “ditched” saying that the curriculum should focus on “ensuring our youngsters are well qualified and thus motivated for making a success of a career before thinking about starting a family.”

Mr Phibbs’ concerns are echoed by Margaret Morrissey, from campaign group Parents Outloud, who warned that the lessons “could create an interest where none existed”.

Many schools teach PSHE, which contains the controversial Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), though it is not yet compulsory.

The Government wants PSHE to be compulsory from 2011.

Last November Mr Balls announced that SRE will start at the age of five with children learning about civil partnerships and body parts from the age of seven.

Last year a £6 million Government-backed project designed to curb teenage pregnancies saw conceptions more than double.

The project involved giving teenagers sex education and advice about contraception but at the end of the scheme there were more teenage pregnancies among the youngsters who had taken part than among a comparable group who hadn’t.

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