The boy who fathered twins at 13 goes back to school
he’ll be helping to teach sex education [
MID DAY : 06/08/2000]

             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 mind two.” 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.