If a controversial move by Oxfordshire County Council goes ahead pupils from a Catholic school will be able to text a nurse for advice on emergency contraception.
The council said that six schools are being considered to take part in its pilot project to tackle high rates of teenage pregnancy in certain areas, with the Catholic St Gregory the Great school being one of the pilots.
Catholic Bishop William Kenney has criticised the idea. ‘It goes against the very central idea the Catholic Church has on human life,’ he said. ‘I don’t think this will help solve the teenage pregnancy rate. I think it’s taking away responsibility from parents.’
A school nurse’s mobile phone number will be given to the youngsters as part of the scheme for them to text about a range of issues, including contraception, outside school hours.
Because the pupils would be using the service outside the school day, during holidays and on weekends, the plans fall outside the remit of school governance.
The council and Oxfordshire PCT jointly said: ‘The six schools were chosen because they sit in wards that have been shown to have persistently high teenage conception rates. It is not that the schools involved have high conception rates.’