What we do
All about what we can do for you.
We run courses in secondary schools about the realities of early parenthood, healthy relationships, child sexual exploitation and sexting.
We employ teenage mothers and young fathers to deliver these Straight Talking Peer Education.
Using young people from a similar age, background or social culture makes it easier for pupils to understand and relate to the difficult issues.
"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.” - Sarah Rand, Surrey County Council
Reduce teenage parenthood and sexual exploitation by allowing young people the opportunity to make better informed life choices.
Break down barriers to employment for teenage parents, support the development of skills and provide pathways to economic independence of State Benefits.
Our courses complement existing relationship and sex education programmes which often focus on the biological aspects of pregnancy and its prevention. Straight Talking takes this further by highlighting the social, emotional and economic implications of early parenthood, with courses delivered by peer educators who speak from first-hand experience.
‘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
Why do we run these courses in schools?
There were 59,815 conceptions to teenage girls in England & Wales in 2015 (ONS, 2017); still the highest in Western Europe. Teenage parenthood robs young people of a childhood and seriously impacts their future life chances. It is strongly linked to poverty and crime.
130,000 children live in homes where there is high-risk domestic abuse
Statistics range between 15 and 40% of young people being involved in sexting, depending on their age and the way sexting is measured.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham published in 2014 estimated that 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
25% of young offenders in custody are fathers, while 39% are mothers.
Infant mortality for babies born to teenage mothers are 60% higher than average
Teenage mothers are more than twice as likely to die of complications in childbirth
20% of young people not in education, employment or training are teenage mothers.
One teenage mother costs the taxpayer £100,000 in the first 5 years and £63m. to the NHS. Teenage parents are more likely to have children who themselves become teenage parents.
Our programme in schools and other educational settings, 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.
We use peer education to discuss sensitive health and
well-being subjects with young people. A peer is of equal standing to the pupil; as such does not represent a teacher or someone in authority who they feel may judge them. It naturally opens up an alternative communication channel to discuss sensitive personal issue.
The activities, together with honest personal stories, help young people to relate to the issue, and provide 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 encourages 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 understand consequences and where to get help.
Straight Talking is 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 three sessions or more are presented by both a teenage mother and a young father.
“The peer educators 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