Teen mum advisers face the axe in latest cash cuts

4:00pm Monday 11th February 2013

A SEX education officer and a key worker who help teen mums get back to school could be axed to save £63,000 — at a time when teenage pregnancy rates are above the national average.

The two posts are going as part of more multi-million pound cuts being made by Bolton Council.

They are a sex and relationships education development officer (SRE) and a teenage parent inclusion and support officer (TPI).

It comes as Town Hall chiefs announced they had to make a save further £8.8 million of cuts on top of £34.6 already saved.

Bolton’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy was established in 2003 and the SRE was recruited to provide advice and training to Bolton’s schools to help them deliver the sensitive subject.

The TPI identifies teenage mums and encourages them to carry on with their education as well providing support.

Councillors discussed the proposals at a time when pregnancy rates locally are above the average in England. In Bolton there were 39.30 teenage pregnancies per 1,000 — the national average is 35.40.

In 2005 that figure stood at 50.8 per 1,000 females and the figure has been steadily falling.

The TPL works at Bolton College, the Young Mums Unit at Harvey Children’s Centre and at the ante-natal clinic and is funded by the council and Bolton College, with the college indicating it will no longer fund the post from the end of June.

The duties of the two posts will be “re-distributed“ to the health board and to schools and colleges.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “Despite sexual relationship education being the legal responsibility of schools, the council has been able to provide discretionary support.

“Budgetary pressures have forced the council to make significant savings and we are now consulting on no longer funding these posts.

“We acknowledge the posts have provided valuable support to schools in reducing teenage pregnancy rates.

“We are working closely with the staff affected and the unions to give them all the help and support they need at this difficult time.” Pat Harrison, director of 14-to-19 at Bolton College, said: “The college has taken steps to ensure no learners will suffer as a result of the loss of this position.

“The support services the college offers to teenage parents will still be delivered by our internal team.”

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