Whilst all schools ought to make it possible for pregnant and parenting students to remain at or re-enter school to finish their secondary education, this is far from the case across Australia. There are stand-out examples like Canberra College’s CCCares stand-alone campus which provides flexible timetabling and curricula, transport, health services and parenting courses but, for the most part, young parents are effectively excluded from schools.
Not completing school potentially results in long term unemployment, welfare and poverty. For parenting young people there is further risk of emotional stress due to poverty and social isolation, at times leading to vulnerability to becoming involved in unhealthy relationships, low self-esteem and fear of social stigma.
Pregnancy, Birth & Baby advises:
If you are a pregnant or parenting teenager, you are still entitled to the same training and education as other students. While continuing education can be challenging in your situation, it is possible if you know your options and a way forward.
Legally, schools must provide support to help young parents and pregnant teenagers complete their studies. Schools may have to adapt the way they teach you, the way they assess you, any uniform or dress codes and even the hours you need to attend to make sure you are able to continue your education.
A small number of high schools provide child care centres or support programs for pregnant and parenting young people. Speak to a social worker, counsellor or your pregnancy (antenatal) healthcare team to find which schools offer help to young parents.
If you feel you’ve experienced discrimination or bullying about being at school, speak to someone you trust – such as the guidance counsellor, youth support worker or another member of school staff.
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