Year 10 students at Grace Academy Coventry have discovered some of the realities of teenage pregnancy after teen parents visited the school to talk about their experiences.
The visit was part of a ‘Building Healthy Relationships’ day to help students make healthy choices about relationships in line with government plans to introduce statutory RSE for all schools by 2020.
Teen mum Che Maclaren from ‘Straight Talking’, a national Peer Education programme that helps young people understand the true picture of teen parenthood said:
“Many people think that if you have a baby in your teenage years, you just get handed a flat, but it is a lot more difficult than that. We advise students to think carefully about the decisions they make that could impact on the rest of their lives. We go through how much it really costs to set themselves up as a parent, the difficulties of finding a job with a baby, and what it’s really like to look after a baby.”
During the day, students also learned about the impact on their bodies of alcohol and substance abuse through a humorous and engaging drama by Loudmouth, a theatre in education company. Actor Rupam Lal who took part in the ‘One2Many’ play, said:
“It’s all about raising awareness and showing students where they can go for help. Using theatre is a great way to raise awareness of these subjects and the workshops afterwards give students a voice, space to ask questions and share their thoughts.”
After the day, 91% of students said they were more aware of the effects that alcohol and drugs can have on personal safety, decisions, and future careers, while 89% said they better understand the realities of teenage pregnancy. Year 10 student Michael Richardson commented:
“It made me really think how little we know about what is in the drugs, and how easy it is to get addicted to drugs. I thought the talk about teenage pregnancy was also good, especially when one of the mums told the story of how she had to stay in a bad area, and the struggles involved in not expecting to have a child without the money to look after them. That did grab my attention.”
Kim Catling, Assistant Principal for Ethos, Grace Academy Coventry, added:
“Grace Academy is 100% committed to the development of our students, both academically, but also in their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Our “Building Healthy Relationships” programme spans from Year 7 to Post-16 and it is fantastic to be able to explore these topics in a safe environment. We are pleased to be able to offer our students a tailored programme to help them grow in confidence and develop emotional resilience.”