Over 1,000 girls in the first year of secondary school were prescribed the contraceptive pill last year, according to shocking new figures.
This represents a fivefold increase in the past decade, and critics are concerned about the increasing sexualisation of the nation’s children.
The figures, from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD), also revealed that 200 girls between the ages of eleven and 13 were prescribed long-term implanted or injectable contraceptives last year.
And the number of 15-year-olds being prescribed the Pill has more than doubled from 23,000 in 1999 to 58,000 last year.
Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP and chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: “These figures illustrate the fact that the UK is facilitating the sexualisation of young people at an ever younger age”.
“If sex education is introduced in primary schools in the way being proposed, we will see many more eleven-year-olds seeking contraception and if we pay GPs to give out contraception without pointing out the risks… we are going to make matters worse”, he continued.
In Britain the age of consent is 16, but GPs are allowed to prescribe the Pill to children if they believe they are mature enough to be having sex.
But doctors are under no obligation to tell parents if their children are being prescribed the Pill.
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, denied that the rise was caused by an increase in sexual activity.
He said: “I believe that the system has improved. There hasn’t been an increase in sexual activity in young girls – this is about girls acting more maturely and coming to GPs for advice on contraception.”
The figures come from the GPRD, a Government-funded body, based on information gathered from 500 GP practices.
Last month a study by Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, warned that parents were “rarely” consulted about their children’s lessons involving sex education.
The study also found that some schools were failing to help children to ‘say no’ to sex, in their Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education lessons.
The study, which looked at 165 schools in England, also covered alcohol awareness education and said children should be taught about the illegality of underage drinking.
However, no such mention of the illegality of having sex under the age of consent was made in the report.