London, September 6 since James Sutton last set foot inside a
classroom, his life has changed dramatically.
At the age of 13 he became
Britian’s youngest father of twins when his girlfriend Sarah Drinkwater,
17, gave birth to Leah and Louise last November. Instead of playing computer
games or kicking a football around with friends he found himself changing
nappies and helping out a feeding time. Now the 14-year-old, who was a
persistent truant at his former school, is making a fresh start after his
unofficial paternity leave.
He is starting GCSE studies in
English, Maths, History, Geography and art at a new school, Cedar Mount
High School in Manchester. Staff there have been quick to
realise the potential of having a teenage father among their ranks. They have persuaded him to
teach classmates about safe sex and contraception, highlighting his
experiences as a teenage father.
The young couple admit they
failed to use contraception and knew little about it before Sarah became
pregnant, despite a thorough sex education, programme at school.
Cedar Mount headmaster Guy
Hutchence hopes the teenager’s experiences will provide
real-life-testimony on sex issues Hutchence said : “I believe
it is very important that James continues with his education.
James, who will have to learn
how to juggle childcare and school work, is determined to be a good parent
and a good student “I will have to go to school
and then on to Sarah’s to help look after the girls,” he said.“I put them to bed and Sarah
chores like any Dad. I love
Sarah and the kids and wouldn’t swop them for the world.
But to say our lives have been changed drastically is no
exaggeration. Now I want to
help other teenagers to avoid getting into the same predicament.
“You can’t just do what
you want when you want. As a
parent, you have a great responsibility for the children and they have to
come first.”James still lives with his
mother Elaine, 44 in Gorton, Manchester, but Sarah has been given a
council home on the same estate.The couple care for their
daughters with some help from Sutton and Sarah’s mother Sandra.
Many people predicted that the
couple’s relationship would crumble under the strain of having to bring
up twins while little more than children themselves.Sarah, whose ambition is to
work in betting shop like her mother, left school at 16 before she became
pregnant. She said :
“They expected the strain of bringing up twins at our age would
split us up, but we’re as close as ever and love each other.”
James said :
“People said we wouldn’t even get through the teething, but
we’ve proved them wrong.”The couple have their hands
full and say they are content with the twins and have no plans for any
other children at the moment.James said :
“I love the twins to death but one is more than enough, never
Sarah was slightly more
relaxed about adding to the couple’s family, saying : “I
love being a mum. I always
wanted to have kids. But we
aren’t planning any more – for now.In modern Britian, stories
like James and Sarah’s are becoming depressingly common.
Britian has Europe’s highest
rate of teenage pregnancy, with more than 9,000 girls under the age of 16
giving birth each year.