A RECENTLY published report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests the teenage pregnancy rate is falling across Shropshire.

The ONS quarterly conceptions to women aged under 18 years report shows a rate of 11.2 per cent for the county, a five per cent drop since 2017.

Current figures also indicate that Shropshire is lower than the West Midlands average of 19.8 per cent.

Efforts to reach national targets to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies over the last few years have resulted in an increased commitment from council partners across the county to provide young people with the skills, confidence and information to make important choices.

This has included the creation of Shropshire’s award-winning PSHE and Respect Yourself Relationship and Sex Education Programmes, developed by Shropshire Council’s public health team for schools across the county.

The programmes aim not only to tackle teenage pregnancy, but also address safeguarding issues and improving the self-confidence and self-esteem of young people too.

The programmes also include training and resources for teachers, support for non-teaching staff about use of language and responding to pupils’ questions, as well as running parents meetings and working with governors on policy and whole school issues.

Shropshire Council also commissions the 0-19 Public Health Nursing service, which provides information and support to young people on a wide range of issues including relationships and sexual health.

Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council’s deputy cabinet member for public health, said: “I am delighted to see that the number of teenage pregnancies in Shropshire is continuing to fall.

"It is evident that everyone continues to work hard towards supporting Shropshire’s young people in its continued effort to reduce teenage pregnancies.”

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, added: “We are working closely with children and young people, including those who are most at risk, parents and partner organisations, to improve ways that young people receive appropriate, accurate information about relationships and sexual health.

“We are proud that we have be recognised nationally for our innovative work to help young people make decisions about their future.

“These current figures show that the range of education, prevention and support offered is making a difference.

"A lot of effort has been put in to reduce the figures, and it’s heartening to see that this is having such a significant effect.”