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Tuesday, September 8, 1998 Published at 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK


Spice baby boom?

The Spice Girls: role models for a younger generation?

A teachers' union leader is warning that a wave of teenage pregnancies could sweep the country as girls attempt to emulate the Spice Girls.

The new president of the Secondary Heads Association, Judith Mullen, says schoolgirls could be persuaded to become mothers by the publicity surrounding the pregnancies of two members of the pop group, Victoria Adams and Melanie Brown.

[ image: Expecting: Posh Spice Victoria Adams and fiance David Beckham]
Expecting: Posh Spice Victoria Adams and fiance David Beckham
Mrs Mullen said she feared there could be "a generation of Spice babies born to teenage mothers."

But she blamed politicians for the problem, accusing successive governments of over-emphasising exam results.

"There are a lot of young women whose self-esteem has been knocked because they don't feel they have achieved the magic five A* to C grades at GCSE," she said.

"For some, pregnancy might be a way of feeling success."

[ image: Pregnant: Scary Spice Mel B]
Pregnant: Scary Spice Mel B
Mrs Mullen, warden of Melbourn Village College in South Cambridgeshire, said girls who struggled at school and came from homes where they received little encouragement often suffered from lower self-esteem than boys who fell behind.

Headteachers were behind the drive to raise standards but the emphasis on exam results was squeezing out the opportunity for personal development, she said.

"We have got to get back to looking at the importance of personal development for young people."

Mrs Mullen added that she was not criticising the two pregnant Spice Girls, who were in their 20s and "in loving, caring relationships."

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