Teenage fathers need as much support from schools as young mothers, according to a leading thinktank.
In an article written by English teacher Tobias Fish in the 19 June issue of TES, Jeremy Davies of the Fatherhood Institute explains that schools have a duty to support teen dads. “A school’s primary aim is to ensure that young dads can achieve, and to provide pastoral care,” he says.
However, Fish explains that although services – including schools – tend to invest a good deal of time and energy into supporting young mothers, young dads get far less assistance, if any. Given the strong weight of evidence about the impact of fathers’ involvement on outcomes for children, he argues, that needs to change.
“At first sight, these young men might appear to offer unpromising raw material for transforming into loving, emotionally capable hands-on dads, but with the right support they can become just that,” Fish writes.
Davies agrees. “The aim should be to turn any potentially negative impact into a positive: a well-supported young father could, in fact, become a positive role model for other young men,” he says.
The article features the story of 15-year-old Errol who became a father this year. Errol’s advice to schools is simple. “Support him through the time. Let him take time out of lessons. Let him go to a young dads’ session. Check if he’s all right. Help him mature a bit. Most of all, let him know that, if you’re a young dad, you can do it.”
Read the full feature in the 19 June issue of TES. You can read it on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.