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New Labour’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy (1999-2010) initiated an increase in service provision for teenage mothers, while also seeking to halve England’s teenage conception rate over a ten-year period, and to increase teenage mothers’ participation in education and employment in order to reduce social exclusion. This paper employs data from my doctoral research, which involved an ethnographic study of an alternative educational setting for pregnant teenagers in London in 2007. Teenage mothers must negotiate ‘bad mother’ stereotypes, and in this setting experience pedagogic and peer regulation into ‘good mothers’; these experiences are countered, however, by the young women’s resistance to negative stereotyping and by a variety of ideas around what constitutes ‘good mothering’. The paper argues that, in the process of transition to motherhood, the young women’s distinctive maternal learning is balanced with the claiming of a defensive, resilient mothering identity.