Calderdale Council is helping local secondary schools to educate pupils aged 13-15 years old about relationships, staying safe and safe sex.
Ten out of 14 secondary schools have signed up for the new programme and the remaining schools are in discussions. Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is already part of the curriculum across all schools and Calderdale Council is working with the ‘Theatre & Learning’ company to help them deliver these sessions.
The ‘Sex Factor’ theatre production teaches pupils about how to stay safe; delaying sex until they are older; safe sex and where to go for help, through a performance which will appeal to young people.
The programme is based upon research with young people and showcases a range of different scenarios that pupils may find themselves in. After the play, pupils can talk to a range of experts to ask questions and get more advice.
In Calderdale there are approximately 130 under 18 conceptions each year, despite sex and relationships education and services which offer support to young people. Around three quarters of teenage conceptions in Calderdale are unplanned and about half end in an abortion.
Kate Horne, Senior Programme Manager in Sexual Health at Calderdale Council said:
“Around 30% of pupils in Calderdale want more information about contraception, delaying sex and safer sex. We want to give them the information that they are asking for in a safe environment. There is a risk that if young people don’t hear it from health experts then they may turn to other less reliable sources. This could be from friends, where there is a danger of misunderstandings or from pornography, which is now easy to access on the internet.”
Gillian Bristow, Clinical Nurse Manager for Sexual Health Services at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said:
“A lot of young people come to us for advice and information, as well as for contraception and sexual health screening. We try to encourage young people to attend a clinic prior to sexual activity so we can encourage them to delay their first sexual contact and also to instil the message that it isn’t screening that keeps you safe it’s using a condom.”
Many young people say they want to hear about sex and relationships from their parents first. Some parents do, but some find it difficult because they feel embarrassed or lack the knowledge themselves.
Cllr Colin Raistrick, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said:
“We know that this is a sometimes difficult, but very important, subject for many young people and their parents. So we’re inviting parents to attend the first performance of the production so that they can see it for themselves. There will also be a chance to speak to the health professionals involved after the show.
“I’d strongly urge any parent to watch it, free of charge, at Halifax Town Hall on Friday 3 October 2014.”
Places for the performance are limited so parents are encouraged to book as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents can also make use of the fantastic support on offer at www.sexeducationforum.org.uk(external link) or www.fpa.org.uk(external link) which helps parents talk about growing up, relationships and sex.