Teenage Mothers & Young Fathers
Info for Young People
Schools & Youth Clubs
Donors & Supporters
How It Works
The Straight Talking Peer Education approach is to run courses in secondary schools designed to give pupils a concrete way of relating to the complex issues of teenage pregnancy, the life-changing implications that come with early parenthood, healthy relationships and child sexual exploitation.
Our peer educators are young people from a similar age, background or social culture who inform pupils in schools about issues that have effected their own life.
Young people listen to each other, they relate to ‘someone like me’, often feeling another young person can really understand the world they live in. Teenagers benefit from concrete examples of consequences, rather than just abstract discussions about possibilities. A conversation with a young person who has been down that road can often have an impact that an adult, simply saying ‘don’t do that’, cannot.
Peer Education is already happening in the schoolyard and on the Internet. Straight Talking harnesses this power and places it in the controlled environment of the classroom, providing well-trained peer educators and accurate information.
Straight Talking’s core work involves two main projects:
- The Prevention Project educating young people in schools about The Realities of Teenage Parenthood and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
- The Employment and Education Project providing pathways to employment for teenage mothers and young fathers
The Prevention Project
The Prevention Project includes two peer education courses that fit into Key stage 3 and 4 in secondary schools as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) programmes:
- The Realities of Teenage Parenthood
- Understanding Healthy Relationships, Awareness of Sexual Exploitation and Sexting
Both courses have a range of interactive and fun activities that are presented to 13-17 year old pupils by well trained and confident peer educators, who have themselves been teenage parents and are able to talk about the realities of teenage parenthood from personal experience. The activities together with honest personal stories help young people to relate to the issue, as well as providing a safe and comfortable environment to introduce discussions on sexual exploitation and abuse.The course on ‘Realities of Teenage Parenthood’ is designed to help pupils understand that early parenthood is most often not a rational choice and encourage them to wait until they are in a stable relationship, economically independent and emotionally secure before becoming a parent. The course on ‘Understanding Healthy Relationships, Awareness of Sexual Exploitation and Sexting’ helps to identify signs and causes, as well as and understanding consequences and where to get help. Straight Talking are committed to educating about the responsibilities of parenthood and healthy relationships from both a male and a female perspective. Where possible all courses booked for 3-sessions or more are presented by both a teenage mother and a young father. ‘The peer educators (male and female) found that the male peer educators created a different dynamic and helped open up discussion with a wider range of pupils than if it had been just a female peer educator... Students surveyed, considered [male peer educators] a strength of the Straight Talking programme. They stated that this was “interesting” and provided a “different side of parenthood… Some teachers [found] the male peer educator was a positive surprise.’ Independent evaluation by Deloitte 2016
The Employment and Empowerment Programme
Employing and training teenage parents as Peer Educators provides opportunities for development in a broader range of transferable workplace skills that are necessary to gain well paid employment and ensure young parents are better off in work than on benefits.
Our approach for helping young parents off benefits and into work is innovative. We first view teenage parents as valuable members of our community, people who are capable and resilient and who have skills and experiences, which can benefit the wider community. Many other approaches look to develop skills, ignoring those that young parents already have, contributing to the perception that they are marginalised and have little to offer.
Yes I am a government statistic, but one I can be proud of, a university graduate, setting the path for my daughter. Straight Talking inspired me, now I try to inspire her.