Teenage Mothers & Young Fathers
Info for Young People
Schools & Youth Clubs
Donors & Supporters
What We Do
Straight Talking Peer Education employs teenage mothers and young fathers to run courses in secondary schools about the realities of early parenthood, healthy relationships, child sexual exploitation and sexting.
This work achieves two things:
- It reduces teenage parenthood and sexual exploitation by allowing young people the opportunity to make better-informed life choices.
- It reduces barriers to employment for teenage parents, supporting the development of skills and providing pathways towards economic independence.
The generational costs of teenage parenthood to our communities is immense both socially and economically. Children born to teenage mothers are 63% more likely to grow up in poverty and 21% of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) are teenage mothers or pregnant teenagers; the highest predicator of teenage parenthood is being the child of a teenage parent yourself.
There remains a strong policy focus from government on preventing young people from becoming NEET and finding pathways out of NEET. By employing teenage mothers and young fathers, allowing them to gain the skills, concrete employment experience and the aspirations needed to transition off benefits and into full time work, Straight Talking are supporting this governmental goal. The programme provides a pathway for young parents to gain economic independence and be positive, working role models for their own children.
Recent high profile cases of child sexual exploitation have focused attention on the need to better protect young people from sexual exploitation. The need for better Relationships and Sex Education in schools has become recognised at both a national and local level. The House of Commons Education Committee found that, ‘Personal Social & Health Education requires improvement in 40% of schools.’ (House of Commons Education Committee (2015), Life Lessons: PSHE and SRE in Schools, London, UK).
Straight Talking courses are designed to compliment existing Relationship and Sex Education programmes which often focus on the more biological aspects of pregnancy and pregnancy prevention. Straight Talking focus on the social, emotional and economic implications of early parenthood, with courses delivered by peer educators who speak from first hand experience. This approach, using young people from a similar age, background or social culture to inform pupils about difficult issues in a way that they can understand and relate to, is extremely powerful.
‘The authentic first-hand experience of the peer educators employed by Straight Talking was credible and compelling to students. Students felt that Straight Talking provided them with a view of what life is really like following the birth of a child, an insight which can be difficult to obtain elsewhere. [Pupils] enjoyed the approach of using peer educators and felt that they delivered the sessions better than a teacher would have. Teachers all agreed with this.’ Independent Evaluation, Deloitte, August 2016
What Straight Talking is doing differently is telling young people exactly what it means to be a parent and what practical and real challenges you encounter if you are a teenage parent.