The Times

June 15 1999

Hayley Riley, with her daughter Jade, told the class that motherhood effectively spelt the end of life as a teenager

A lesson in reality

A classroom full of teenagers who said that they were "sick and tired" of sex education watched aghast as a mother who looked younger than they barely managed to stop her screaming baby from destroying their blackboard (Helen Rumbelow writes).

That scene was the Government's "relationship- based" sex education in action at Monk's Walk School in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, where teachers were replaced by three teenage mothers.

"You see, children are a nightmare. Does anyone want one of these?" asked Amanda Lawrence, 19, mother of the troublesome two-year-old. The two dozen 16 and 17-year-olds shook their heads and laughed with relief.

The message was clear: motherhood is great if you are a boring adult with nothing more exciting to do, but it is a living nightmare for the young. It ruins your social life, takes your pocket money, alienates your friends and leaves you with a flabby stomach and stained clothes.

Hayley Riley, 19, who was 17 when she became pregnant with Jade, said that all the trappings of teenage life must be given up. "Your make-up is ground into the carpet, CDs are chewed up and spat out again."

Copyright 1999, Times Newspapers Ltd.