Evidence-based best practice in sex and relationships education (SRE)
PHE ePoster Library. Campbell R. Sep 12, 2017; 186642; 43
Rona Campbell
Rona Campbell
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Abstract IntroductionSchool-based sex and relationship education (SRE) is seen as vital for safeguarding young people and for improving their sexual health. The government has recently announced its intention to make SRE statutory by 2019. This is welcome as currently over a third of schools lacks good quality SRE. We aimed to identify characteristics that make SRE programmes effective, acceptable, sustainable and capable of faithful implementation.MethodWe conducted and synthesised findings from five research packages (practitioner interviews; case study investigation; National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles [Natsal-3]; review of reviews; qualitative synthesis) as well as feedback from stakeholders.ResultsSchool-based SRE and school-linked sexual health services can be effective at improving sexual health. Professionals agree that good programmes start in primary school. Professionals and young people agree that good programmes are age-appropriate, interactive and take place in a safe environment. Some young women prefer single-sex classes. Young people and professionals agree that SRE should take a 'life skills' approach and not focus on abstinence. Young people advocate a 'sex-positive' approach but report this is lacking. Young people and professionals agree that SRE should discuss risks, but young people indicate that approaches to risk need revising. Professionals believe teachers should be involved in SRE delivery but many young people dislike having their own teachers deliver SRE. We developed criteria for best practice based on the evidence.ConclusionsWe identified key features of effective and acceptable SRE. Our best practice criteria can inform consultations on how to deliver statutory SRE. External funding details This paper presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The funders had no role in the study design, nor in data collection, analysis, or interpretation, nor in the writing of the report or the decision to submit the article for publication. The SPHR is funded by the NIHR. NIHR SPHR is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Bristol, Cambridge, Exeter, UCL; The London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; the LiLaC collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster and Fuse; The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, a collaboration between Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities.
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