Sex education reduces teen pregnancies in the West Country

The number of teenagers getting pregnant in the West Country has significantly declined after changes were made to sex education.

It has been revealed that in 2012, pregnancy rates among girls 16 years of age and younger were at the lowest they have been since 1969.

Experts suggest that this was down to focusing on facts rather than preaching abstinence, resulting in the number of pregnancies dropping from 179 to 152 between 2009 and 2012.

The Office of National Statistics states that around 50 per cent of these ended with the mother having an abortion.

In terms of the under 18's age group in the Devon and Cornwall areas, the number dropped from 341 in 1998 to 242 in 2012.

Lex Gainsbury, teenage pregnancy co-ordinator in Cornwall, said: "It shows that all the work we have been doing is a success.

"The vast majority of teenage pregnancies are unplanned. We want young people to be making pro-active decisions for themselves."

She added that the changes have worked because young people don't listen when you tell them to just say no.

Ms Gainsbury said that they are making the transition into becoming more independent beings, while the best thing to do is to educate them so they make the right decisions on their own.

Research has shown that, for every £1 spent on sex education, £4 is saved on helping would-be young mothers to raise a child.

In addition, around £11 is saved for every £1 that is spent on contraception for young people.

Essex is usually the number one spot for young mums within the region, but it has recently been overtaken by Teignbridge, which has had the highest rate for each of the past three years.

Torridge had the smallest amount of teen pregnancies, with 2012 statistics revealing that just 22 individuals became with child. The year before, it was West Devon with just 15.