FSRH press statement: Continuous improvement of teenage pregnancy rates must be supported by high-quality, evidence-based RSE

Posted 15 November 2018

Date: 15 Nov 2018

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

FSRH welcomes the publication of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) under 18 conception rates for women in England and Wales July-September (Q3 2017)

Pregnancy rates to women aged 15-17 continue to fall in comparison to Q3 2016 according to data released by the ONS for the third quarter of 2017 in England and Wales. In England, the teenage pregnancy rate fell by 6.8%, from 17.7 to 16.5 per 1000 young women.

Despite the continuous downwards trend, regional inequalities continue to be marked. The North East showed an increase of 5.3%, and Yorkshire and the Humber an increase of 1%. Decreases among regions range from 1.0% in the North West to 14.9% in the East Midlands.

Cuts to public health and contraceptive services risk deepening these regional inequalities and reversing the significant progress made in the last decade to lower historically high teenage pregnancy rates. This is given added relevance considering the recent consultation by the Department for Education (DfE) on the draft guidance for relationships and sex education (RSE) in schools.

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“The decline in teenage pregnancy rates is very welcome, but it is clear that regional inequalities will persist if there are barriers to contraception access and good quality, factual RSE.

In our response to the draft RSE guidance consultation, we have called on the Government to ensure that high-quality and evidence-based RSE lessons in schools are based on reputable sources that are medically accurate and taught by teachers who are appropriately trained.

We have also called on the Department for Education to make sure pupils in secondary school are taught about the range of available contraceptive methods, the most effective options and how they can access them.

Access to contraceptive services and high-quality RSE is essential to support young people to avoid unplanned pregnancies.”


Notes to editors: 

  • Office for National Statistics Quarterly Conceptions to Women Aged Under 18, England and Wales Q3 2017 data available here
  • FSRH’s response to the consultation on the draft RSE guidance by the Department for Education can be found here.
  • FSRH, jointly with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), will soon launch a free, evidence-based factsheet on abortion care to support teachers in secondary schools. It is supported by the PSHE Association and Sex Education Forum. In an area of education that is prone to being affected by myths and false information, this resource provides accurate information and objective facts about abortion care, informing about what an abortion is, how it is performed and what the entitlements are within the context of abortion care. The factsheet will soon be available here.
  • The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ. For more information please visit: www.fsrh.org

For further information please contact:
Camila Azevedo
FSRH External Affairs & Standards Officer
Email: externalaffairsofficer@fsrh.org
Telephone: 02037945309