Teenage Mothers & Young Fathers
Info for Young People
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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.Read more
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.
In schools Peer Educators draw on their own experience to deliver a dynamic programme to their peers. These, often socially excluded, teenage parents gain respect in the classroom from both pupils and teachers, and most importantly, for themselves. Often having disengaged from education, Straight Talking are sending these young parents back into the classroom to work alongside teachers, challenging their perception of learning environments. 40% of teenage mothers leave school with no qualifications and most also have no previous work experience. Lone teenage parents suffer in particular from the benefits trap. In order to break even on State benefits and childcare costs while in full-time work, a teenage parent needs to earn a staggering £21,000 per annum. This can seem insurmountable for a young person who has left school with no qualifications and has no work experience – a minimum wage job is under £14,000 per year. This £7,000 deficit is the benefits trap. The structured three-stage programme provides the opportunity to develop along a pathway of skills development and work experience that is between twelve months and three years long; beginning with sessional work, moving on to part-time employment and the scope to access full-time employment in a management role. With opportunities for promotion within the organisation these young parents have the chance to work within head office as part of the sales and marketing team, gain exposure to a variety of projects and get involved in all aspects of the business. A Straight Talking Peer Educator has the opportunity to complete our programme with several years work experience, a CV demonstrating the use of a broad range of workplace skills, including managing a team. Straight Talking also supports young parents wishing to re-engage with education by providing sessional employment while they study.
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.