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Kirkcaldy school project helps cut teen pregnancies

The KHS team give a talk to COSLA

The KHS team give a talk to COSLA

 

A Kirkcaldy school’s initiative set up to help cut unwanted pregnancies is waiting to find out if it has won a national award.

And the NHS Fife-run sexual health drop-in clinic, which offers advice on a wide variety of sex and relationship issues as well as contraception, is proving a great success among Kirkcaldy High School pupils, whose catchment area used to have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.

There has also been a redesign of sex education in the school, with small group, single gender lessons supported by school nurses offering a more hard-hitting and relevant edge than others.

In recognition of its success, the school will today (Thursday) be visited by Michael Matheson, Scottish Minister for public health, who hailed it as an example for schools throughout Scotland.

The in-house service, set up three years ago, is in the final of the Tackling Inequalities and Improving Health category of the COSLA Excellence Awards next month, and is the only Fife project to be included.

It has attracted interest from many quarters and the school was invited to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee last February – the only school to contribute in this way.

Derek Allan, rector, said that the rates of teenage pregnancy within the school’s catchment have shown a very significant reduction since 2010.

He explained that a group of responsible S4 pupils had been trained as “peer educators” to assist in delivering the programme to younger students and to evaluate its impact.

“From the outset, we listened to what young people had to say and designed the new service to suit their needs.

‘‘I am proud of how our young people have responded with such maturity and sense of responsibility”, he added.

He also thanked the school’s parents and carers for their support.

Clinic held weekly, run by two NHS Fife school nurses

It offers advice on everything from relationship difficulties to pregnancy testing and access to contraception, including support to attend a specialist clinic if required.

It has attracted interest from many quarters and the school was invited to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee last February - the only school to contribute. The Parliament’s Report on Teenage Pregnancy, published last June, said there was scope for other schools to follow its example.

 

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