Sex health clinics crop up in many British schools

June 22nd, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 22 (IANS) Children have access to condoms and pregnancy tests in nearly a third of Britain’s secondary schools, and without their parents knowing, a new study reveals. They are on offer to the students at sexual health clinics which have come up in these schools. The parents have officially not been informed of this development, causing distress among parent bodies.

The revelation come just days after another survey saying that the number of abortions among teens, and particularly among under-aged girls, has gone up considerably over the years.

The survey conducted by the Sex Education Forum, the first of its kind in the country, will be published by the forum on Tuesday. The forum is an umbrella organisation which supports the development of sex and relationship education in schools. The Observer has come out with the survey highlights in its Sunday edition.

The study says these clinics give prescriptions for a variety of contraceptives - the pill, injections or implants. It is found that all the schools offering services provided at least condoms or pregnancy tests. One in six of all secondary schools gave pupils access to the morning-after pill or tests for sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia.

The survey also addresses the issue of the schools not informing parents about the sex health clinics on their campuses.

School principals and local GPs (general practitioners) say that these clinics give the children opportunity to seek support confidentially, according to the survey. Their logic is that a student would prefer the school clinic than visiting his or her family doctor at a NHS surgery. Moreover, it is difficult for children to get appointments with the doctors without their parents coming to know of it.

However, this explanation has not gone down well with the parents.

Andy Hibberd, co-founder of the Parent Organisation, a support group, said: “It is not a problem that children are getting sex advice in school but the fact that parents are being intentionally cut out of the loop is wrong. If they want the morning-after pill, the school will sanction that and the parent will never know. We would say that this is the end of innocence.”

Their voice may drown in the general call in Britain for mandatory sex education in schools. Thirty MPs have now signed a motion calling on schools to do more.

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