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More schools offer morning-after pill

PUBLISHED: 09:38 22 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:57 01 August 2010

THE number of schools in Suffolk which can offer the controversial morning-after pill to schoolgirls has dramatically increased in just a year.

Of the 33 secondary schools in the NHS Suffolk area, there are now 25 which can provide the emergency contraception to girls - without having to get permission or inform the student's parents.

THE number of schools in Suffolk which can offer the controversial morning-after pill to schoolgirls has dramatically increased in just a year.

Of the 33 secondary schools in the NHS Suffolk area, there are now 25 which can provide the emergency contraception to girls - without having to get permission or inform the student's parents.

This is an increase from just nine in January 2009.

A Freedom of Information request to NHS Suffolk also found that in 2009/10 there were 26 occasions when the morning-after pill was dispensed to schoolgirls.

The Suffolk division of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it was concerned that the family planning message was not getting across to Suffolk's schoolchildren.

Graham White, secretary of the NUT in Suffolk, said he believed the morning-after pill was needed in some schools.

He added: “I am disappointed that the number of schools providing the morning-after pill is as high as that.

“I do not think that the family planning message is getting across in Suffolk because of the fact that there are so many schools now with the morning-after pill.

“I think it may be that the warning is seen as irrelevant to some pupils and they do not like being given advice.”

Nurses at schools which allow morning-after pills to be dispensed are not allowed by law to inform or get permission from the student's parents - even if the child is under 16. However, if they feel the student is at risk of harm or being abused then they can report it to the school and social services.

NHS Suffolk would not say which schools provided the morning-after pill or dispensed it on the 26 occasions in 2009/10.

However, it was reported in January 2009 that nine schools in the county provided the emergency contraception, including Orwell and Deben high schools in Felixstowe, East Bergholt High School, Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge and Stoke Park and Chantry high schools in Ipswich.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said schools provide sex and relationships education which teaches the importance of a loving and stable relationship, respect, love and care for family life.

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk added: “School nurses may dispense Emergency Hormonal Contraceptives (EHC) where this is permitted by the school.”

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