Independent schools with pregnant pupils.

(13 Posts)
CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 09-Oct-13 05:23:06

I was wondering something. I was on Facebook yesterday with an old friend from my school days, and it reminded me of how she got expelled from our independent school at 16 for getting pregnant. Well, for getting pregnant and keeping it, anyway. There was at least one other girl I knew there who got pregnant and had an abortion, but obviously the school authorities never found out. I’m curious now as to whether independent schools would still expel girls for pregnancy, or if things have changed since my friend was 16 and I was 15. I’m 38 now, so 23 years ago (darn, I feel old).

I’m not asking on my own account, since my DCs are only eight and four! I’m just curious. I know here in Canada pregnant schoolgirls can’t be expelled from state schools, although in some school districts (Canadian version of local education authorities) they may be “transitioned” into a special teen mom program with a daycare on-site rather than staying at their own school. As far as I know, though, they can’t be forced into the teen mom program if they prefer to stay at their own (state) school. I have a feeling each school district/local education authority may have somewhat different policies. I'm very vague on all this, though. My knowledge stems mostly from a news program I watched a few years ago. I’m not sure if the UK is similar or not with state schools and pregnant girls.

No idea if my old Canadian independent school still has the same policy now that they did when I was a teenager. Curious what the indies in the UK would do nowadays. It must happen from time to time, even at the most selective schools. I know that independent schools everywhere have a lot more latitude in terms of who they let in and who they get rid of than state schools do. It always aggravated me that she got expelled, while the father didn’t get expelled from his boys’ school for getting her pregnant. Somehow she was the only one setting a bad example.

It's past midnight here, so I probably won't reply anytime soon, will be going to bed. Will respond to replies (if any) in the morning (mid-afternoon for you guys across the pond).

schoolnurse Wed 09-Oct-13 08:01:55

All health related information is confidential doctors and nurses have a legal duty not to divulge information to anyone including parents without the child's permission once a child becomes what is known as Gillick competent which is about 13 yrs old.The only exception to this is child protection.
So if a girl of 13+ got pregnant and had a termination how would a school be it independent or state know?

tiggytape Wed 09-Oct-13 08:22:59

It definitely cannot happen in UK state schools - the rules on exclusion cite this as an example of something a pupil cannot be expelled for.

I doubt they would try it at a private school either given that equality laws do not allow a pregnant woman to be treated adversely just because of her pregnancy.

Apart from anything, it is perfectly possible (though not very likely) that any pupil pregnant in Year 11, 12 or 13 could be a married woman starting a family. That's not to say though that a school couldn't make life difficult until the girl leaves (along the same lines as employers who use this tactic to get rid of pregnant women or women on maternity leave but with other motives).

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 09-Oct-13 09:00:31

My friend remained at independent school in the 1980s when she fell pregnant. They got special dispensation for her to have breast feeding breaks during her A-levels.
The best schools regardless of whether they are state or independent have the pupils best interests at heart and want them to do as well as possible regardless of their circumstances.
They then helped her seek out a University with a good support system for single parents, she got a first class degree and then did a PGCE.

NomDeClavier Wed 09-Oct-13 09:05:16

One girl in my year c2000 got pregnant and was practically asked to leave. Or rather am the school pointed out that she wasn't going to meet their requirements to continue there. A lot of creaming went on, pregnancy etc aside.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 09-Oct-13 15:14:43

Thank you for all the informative responses, you guys.

Lonecat, I'm really glad things went well for your friend. Things also ended up going well for my friend in the end. She went on to get a degree and her DS is now 22, and a year away from graduating himself.

NomdeClavier, I guess if her due date fell right in the middle of the exam period or something. Still seems unfair, though. Actually, looking back, I'm now not sure if my friend was officially expelled or merely asked to leave. Either way, she left. Maybe if her parents had kicked up a fuss the school would've had to take her back, but her parents weren't the fuss-kicking kind.

SchoolNurse: sorry, I should've been more clear in what I wrote. I wasn't suggesting that hte school authorities should have found out about the girl who had an abortion. Of course they shouldn't find out. I was merely noting that this girl existed, and it seemed unfair to me at the time that having an abortion was what kept her in the school's good graces, when they were a religious school and supposedly pro-life.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Oct-13 10:07:08

Independent schools vary a lot in how compassionate they are and top private schools often exclude children with no rhyme or reason. I doult it is legal to exclude a girl for being pregnant as it is sex discrimination. The fathers at private boys never excluded for getting the girl pregnant.

I knew a girl at universtiy who attend a private convent school and got pregnant. The nuns made sure that she got her A-levels, including arranging private tutition for when she was eight months pregnant and not fit to attend school at no extra cost to the parents.

The private school I went to excluded girls for being pregnant, but that was in 1992. In fact I know someone who was excluded from a state school 17 years ago for being pregnant. Thankfully the world has moved on.

scaevola Fri 11-Oct-13 10:13:01

There was a case recently at a Taunton private school where both father- and mother-to-be we're expelled. this was a boarding school, and the expulsion was because of the breach ofthe 'no shagging' rule, not because that brech had led to pg.

I think there have been expulsions (of pupils of both sexes) from other schools for breach of similar 'no shagging' rules (faint recollection of activities in the quarry at Bedales making the press, and leading to expulsions, even though no reported pg)

PatPig Fri 11-Oct-13 15:32:06

I don't think a no shagging rule would be legally enforceable through pregnancy, because boys can't get pregnant, and obviously lots of children will break the rule and have sex, but for boys there would be no chance of pregnancy, unless the partner was at the same school

In other words you can't use pregnancy as proof of having broken the no sex rule, because it's much easy to catch a girl through it than a boy.

AHardDaysWrite Fri 11-Oct-13 15:34:23

I was at private school in the early 90s and a pregnant girl ( year 11) was asked to leave. I hope they're more enlightened these days.

ReallyTired Fri 11-Oct-13 16:31:08

"In other words you can't use pregnancy as proof of having broken the no sex rule, because it's much easy to catch a girl through it than a boy."

I don't think that would bother the typical private school. Sexism is alive and strong in many parts of the UK. Boys who sleep around are studs and girls as slags, sad to say.

PatPig Fri 11-Oct-13 16:33:10

The Equality Act applies to independent schools though. You can't exclude without regard to its provisions.

FlirtyGurty Fri 11-Oct-13 16:47:14

I suspect some independent schools would find another convenient reason for the pupil to leave. No neccesarily an expultion but saying that they may find a reason to expel ; and if that cannot be the no shagging rule they may find something else if they can.

If that fails then they may try and go aling anoter route of something vague and pointless such as "not suited to school life/this school" "niot able to cope with the rigours of our curriculum".

If they are so hell bent on getting ride of pregnant pupil they will by whatever means, even if it means being total gits and offering so little support its within the pupils interest to leave and go elsewhere where they will get better support to continue/complete their education.

I have some vague memory from my teen years (late 1980's) someone telling me about a school claiming health and safety reasons to forceably suggest a pregnant pupil leave.

Some schools are probably better at dealing with this but some are still so stuffy they simply would not want a pregnant pupil at their school for reputation reasons.

Also I wonder if stuff like this is covered in some school contracts. lots of other stuff is like drugs and drink. I wonder if there is some cleverly worded blurb in some contacts.

I am wondering about my DDs independent girls school. The Deputy Head there seems to be on a life long mission to create new rules to cover every possible scenario a teenage girls may come across in life. I find it stfling and although I chuckle at many of the emails we get, find myself getting het up about some the new rules that get implemented. Its become such an issue - with much else as well that we will be leaving at 6th form - stuck there atm until GCSEs completed. Anyway, as I was saying I think my DDs school would be the type mentioned above. They would find a way to oust a pregnant girl by whatever means they could do so legally.

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