Continuing education for teenage parents
If you are a pregnant or parenting teenager, you are still entitled to the same training and education as other students. While continuing education can be challenging in your situation, it is possible if you know your options and a way forward.
Legally, schools must provide support to help young parents and pregnant teenagers complete their studies. Schools may have to adapt the way they teach you, the way they assess you, any uniform or dress codes and even the hours you need to attend to make sure you are able to continue your education.
A small number of high schools provide child care centres or support programs for pregnant and parenting young people. Speak to a social worker, counsellor or your pregnancy (antenatal) healthcare team to find which schools offer help to young parents.
If you feel you've experienced discrimination or bullying about being at school, speak to someone you trust — such as the guidance counsellor, youth support worker or another member of school staff.
What other education options are there?
If you'd rather not attend a mainstream school, you have other options to choose from, such as:
- distance education — allows you to study at home, usually via enrolling and accessing online
- alternative education centres — which may provide on-campus support, such as child care or a designated area where parents can study, rest or feed their babies
- tertiary institutions — such as TAFE, which offer education and training in a wide range of areas
- home education — where your parent gives you individually tailored education and is responsible for planning the education, including conducting learning activities, setting assessments and monitoring your progress
- open colleges — these provide distance education of nationally accredited, industry-recognised courses that support students via an online learning portal where they can interact with each other and their trainers
- other programs — some schools offer specific programs to support pregnant or parenting students
The key is to get an education. It doesn't matter which option you choose, as long as it's the right one for you.
How can I help myself?
No doubt there will be extra physical, emotional and time pressures when you're a young mother or father who wants to continue with your studies. This may mean you need to ask for help from a partner, friend or family member to look after your child while you study. You may even need to study at night and work during the day.
If you are able to stay with your parents, consider doing so, as it may help you deal with the daily pressures of looking after your child. This means you'll be in a better physical and emotional state to study.
It's worth making the effort to continue with your education, as it has many benefits — including job and financial security to be able to support yourself and your child. It also allows you to connect with other people and feel less lonely.
You can call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse for advice and support.
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Last reviewed: October 2021