The Equality Act 2010 means that it is now unlawful for schools to treat a student differently because she becomes pregnant, has recently had a baby, or is breastfeeding. Schools need to give consideration to both pregnancy and maternity when considering their obligations under the new Equality Duty. Schools must not exclude a pupil simply on the grounds of pregnancy.
Schools have the discretion to allow up to 18 calendar weeks of authorised absence to cover the time before and after the birth of the baby. However, consideration should be given to the appropriateness of authorising a year 11 student to take 18 calendar weeks absence before the official school leaving date. The individual circumstances of the young mother and child need to be considered when making this decision.
There are a range of services and support available, which include:
Heworth Hall, Home and Hospital Tuition Service
This service provides continuing education in a small group setting. A crèche is provide after the birth of the baby.
Contraceptive and Sexual Health Service
The service can discuss the options with regards to the pregnancy with the young person.
All pregnant young women in Gateshead (up to age 18) should be referred to Pregnancy Options to ensure the correct pathway is followed and they receive swift and appropriate support.
School Nursing Service
The service can discuss options with regards to the pregnancy.
The Young Woman’s Outreach Project
YWP is a specialist service offering additional support to both the young mother and young father.
Family Nurse Partnership
The Family Nurse Partnership is a voluntary home visiting programme for first time young mums, aged 19 or under (and dads). A specially trained family nurse visits the young mum regularly, from early in pregnancy until the child is two. A mum must be under 28 weeks pregnant to join the programme.
Guidance for schools - pregnant students and school aged parents