THE alarming rate of unwanted teenage pregnancies in Haringey has been reduced through an education campaign focusing on healthy relationships, according to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The borough has been fighting a year-on-year increase in the number of schoolgirls falling pregnant, and had one of the highest rates in the country.

A Care Quality Commission report published in 2009, listed it as one of NHS Haringey's key failings.

But figures revealed last month showed a 25.8 per cent decrease between 2007/08 on the previous year where 248 girls, aged between 15 and 17, fell pregnant.

The dramatic drop is attributed to an ongoing relationship campaign working with at-risk groups and funded by the Government's Youth Crime Action Plan — an initiative to ensure young people have safe places to go and interesting things to do on the weekend.

In August 2009, a group of young people from Northumberland Park Estate, which has one of highest teen pregnancy rates in the borough, visited Skern Lodge in Devon to learn about relationships.

As part of the course, the young people were encouraged to discuss sexual health and swapped gender roles to learn how to better respect and understand each other.

The group took part in team building exercises, including an assault course and kayaking.

Billie Edward, 17, from Northumberland Park, said: "I've seen lots of girls with babies in Northumberland Park. Young women should get an education before they have babies. Honesty and trust are what make a good relationship."

The campaign has gained national sexual health accreditation and will now be extended to include working with the community in Northumberland Park ward.

By engaging with vulnerable young people on the street; the detached team gives them an opportunity to discuss the issues that affect them and learn where and how they can get help and advice.