Voluntary Sector: YWCA focuses on problems faced by schoolgirls

The YWCA England & Wales is set for a lobbying and media relations campaign around why girls get excluded from school.

The organisation wants to distance itself from its roots as a Christian housing organisation and to highlight its work helping disadvantaged young women.

Local and national government will be targeted, along with women's magazines and teen media, in a bid to highlight some of the issues that force girls to play truant.

These include self-harm and bullying, which encourage girls to stay away from the classroom, and the problems faced by pregnant schoolgirls. YWCA says a lack of emphasis is placed on education during pregnancy.

The group is awaiting research - that is expected to confirm that school exclusion is the issue of most concern to young women - before embarking on the campaign.

The move comes as the YWCA prepares to expand its communications department, following the appointment of former National Union of Students research and development projects director Sophie Holmes as comms director.

Holmes, who had been working as director of policy, research and campaigns for the YWCA on a temporary basis, plans to expand her four-strong team with an extra media relations officer to deal with press enquiries.

Media officer Carole Scott is leaving the organisation to go abroad.

She will be replaced by a media manager following a recruitment campaign.

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