Schools in Pembrokeshire will not run scheme allowing pupils access to free contraceptives

PEMBROKESHIRE schools are not running a scheme allowing pupils as young as 13 access to free condoms, members of the county council heard.

The potential issue had been raised by Hubberston councillor Viv Stoddart in a submitted question heard at the July meeting of full council.

Cllr Stoddart asked: “During council on October 13, 2022, I asked about the current provision of C-cards in the county’s secondary schools, now there has been change in the age range (initially 14 upwards) so that children as young as 13 can now access contraceptives without their parents’ knowledge or consent.”

C-cards allow young people to get free condoms from a range of places, including schools, colleges, pharmacies and sexual health clinics.

Cllr Stoddart’s question continued: “In April 2015 the council’s then Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommended that our secondary schools included clear details in their prospectuses of the C-card scheme.

“If the lowering of the age to 13 to obtain condoms has been implemented in Pembrokeshire, how many of our secondary schools have made amendments/revised their information on the C-cards scheme (as recommended by scrutiny in 2015) to inform parents that the age at which their children can be provided with free condoms alongside sexual health advice has dropped from 14 to 13?”

Responding, Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Cllr Guy Woodham said the C-Card post in Pembrokeshire became vacant in 2017, with responsibility transferred to the school nurse services, adding the C-Card service had not been resurrected since the Covid pandemic.

He said, since then, it was proposed the C-Card service is run from community settings, with hopes of securing national lottery funding for such a post.

Cllr Woodham told members young people under 25 are currently able to access birth control through Public Health Wales’ Frisky Wales service.

Cllr Stoddart asked for confirmation the C-Card scheme was not currently operated from county schools, which Cllr Woodham confirmed.

She asked: “Whatever scheme is operated in future, children as young as 13 will be able to access free condoms?”

Cllr Woodham said he understood that to be the case through the Public Health Wales scheme.

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