In 1999 a new Standards Fund Teenage Pregnancy Grant was introduced for areas with high teenage pregnancy rates to encourage the reintegration of school age mothers into the education system and provide support to pregnant teenagers and school age parents. This has now been absorbed into the wider Vulnerable Children’s Grant, offering the opportunity for extending this support to school age parents in all LEAs. Additional support is available through a range of initiatives such as Connexions and Sure Start Plus.
The DfES published guidelines in 2001 on the education of young mothers of school age, which stressed that pregnancy was not a reason for school exclusion and that LEAs had a duty to provide suitable education (at an individual level) for all who become pregnant while of compulsory school age. Later relevant initiatives have included the introduction of Care to Learn for 16-19 years olds in 2003 and its extension to young women of school age from August 2004.
It is against this background of evolving policy for the support for young pregnant women and young mothers that this research has sought to look in detail at the experiences and needs of pregnant young women and young mothers of school age.