teenA cross-party inquiry into Britain's high levels of unplanned teenage pregnancy has called for compulsory relationship classes in schools alongside citizenship.

MPs say young people "need to be taught about relationships as well as contraception" as the UK has twice the level of teenage pregnancy as France and Germany.

The full plans are due to be published next year but Chancellor's aide Amber Rudd, Lib Dem Loreley Burt and Labour's Sandra Osborne concluded that while recent contraception campaigns have been successful, a lack of relationship education among 15-19 year-olds was limiting its effectiveness.

"The evidence that we received showed that there is a high level of knowledge about contraception in young people, but a desperate absence of information about relationships," said Ms Rudd.

"We are calling for relationship education in schools to prepare young men and women for adult life."

The cross-party inquiry also suggested that despite a 24% drop in the teen pregnancy level from 1998 to 2010, the previous government's ambition to halve that rate is still far from being realised.

Health professionals questionned for the report agreed that while "there is a good amount of information on and availability of contraception, the relationship advice that should go with this is totally absent."

The Royal College of Midwives have praised the "hard work of the specialist midwives working with teen mothers and family nurse partnership teams and midwives" but fear that with the rate still worryingly high, cuts to midwives and teen pregnancy advisory services could hinder such work.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We will study this report carefully. We will publish our cross-Government plans on sexual health early next year, and this will include a focus on tackling unwanted pregnancies."

Posted 20/12/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com