Schoolgirls as young as 13 are being given birth control injections and implants without their parents’ knowledge during their lunch break.
Over the past two years school nurses have administered implants and injections to girls between the ages of 13 and 16 more than 900 times.
And a further 7,400 girls aged 15 or under were given the contraceptives at family planning clinics.
Respected head teacher Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, said: “It devalues sex, it makes it like an ordinary, everyday thing like going to have a McDonald’s.”
He also said: “Anything that trivialises or treats it as something mundane or easy, particularly for young people, is damaging their ability to grow up and to properly form a loving lasting relationship.
Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, warned that it is illegal to have sex before the age of 16, and added that facilitating “such behaviour behind parents’ backs is unprofessional, irresponsible and morally wrong”.
The number of implants and injections administered is likely to be higher as many health trusts said they did not keep records or that releasing the information would breach patient confidentiality.
They are being offered in schools in Bristol, Berkshire, Peterborough, West Midlands, Northumbria and County Durham, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, said: “Young people under the age of 16 are legally able to access contraceptive and sexual health services and any advice given will be kept confidential.
“However, the health professional must always encourage a young person to talk to their parents about their sexual health.”