Ottery headteacher 'horrified' as sex education classes are scrapped

SEX education classes at The King s School have been scrapped by health bosses- to the 'horror' of its headteacher.

SEX education classes at The King's School have been scrapped by health bosses- to the 'horror' of its headteacher.

Devon Primary Care Trust withdrew its funding for the Added Power and Understanding in Sex Education (APUASE) programme in December, telling the Ottery school "out of the blue" it would have to stump up nearly �4,000 to keep it running.

The school had "invested heavily" in training three new staff members to deliver the programme to its year ten pupils this term- a move deemed a waste of time and resources by headteacher Faith Jarrett, who labelled the cash demand "an impossibility."

Ms Jarrett described the measures, implemented to target saved-cash at "those school most in need", as "counter productive."

She said: "Surely preventative health education has to be at the forefront of any PCT's delivery model. Perhaps the schools that are currently part of the APAUSE programme, such as us, have lower conception rates precisely because of this work.

"We also find it alarming that at a time when we are all being encouraged, and rightly so, to work much more collaboratively, we should simply receive a letter out of the blue without any consultation."

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A Health of the Nation Report in January showed that teen pregnancy rates in the UK are the "worst" in Western Europe- double the average.

The APAUSE programme, which integrates peer education with contributions from local health services, was taught to 240 pupils over eight classes at The King's School.

Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health for Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Devon County Council said the PCT "very much regretted" the late notification given to schools.

She said: "APAUSE is currently delivered in 70 per cent of schools in Devon and has not therefore targeted to those schools most in need.( schools with students from wards with high levels of teenage conceptions)."

She added that the Devon Healthy Schools Programme offers training courses for staff, governors and personal, social and health education coordinators on all aspect personal and social and health education including sex and relationships education.