Relationships and Sex Education

News

During the 2014-2015 academic year we have been working hard on revising our materials and piloting new resources. 

This has culminated in two major achievements: the PSHE Association has awarded the SRE Project their Quality Assurance Mark for both the ApauseToo Adult-led Resources and the Apause Peer-led programme.

These award require rigorous evaluation of the resources against a range of best-practice criteria. In one sense, we shouldn't be surprises that our work has been acknowledged in this way.  We have an excellent track record of providing well evaluated programmes to schools in England, Wales and Ireland.

However, this generation of resources meets several challanges.  

Keeping prices down - the students resources are laminated for multiple use and the teachers guidelines are printed on a durable paper. 

Supporting developing classroom practice - while the resources and 'teacher guidelines' can be used on a 'grab-and-go' basis,  with a little preparation and practice the less experienced teacher soon discovers they can manage quite well without adhering slavishly to the scripts.

For accomplished  teachers - the  'lesson plan'  is much more schematic and enables the more accomplished teacher to work creatively and spontaneously with the resources.

A 'performative' experience - the whole programme gives primacy to the students' performances. Research show that in order to influence subsequent behaviour learners need to actively engage in the social dimensions of learning.  This means interrogating normative beliefs and personal practices, discussion, debate, reading aloud, sharing a joke in the privacy of small group work, simulations, presenting role-plays and performing solutions to challenging scenarios.

In response to national concerns about internet safety and cyber bullying, we have developed two new exercises which we intend to put through the PSHE Quality Assurance Process and have available for schools by the beginning of the Autumn Term 2015. 

We are always keen to make improvements, so if any one is interested in piloting these resources for free, just contact us:

Phone: 01392 829450 Mobile: 07812561123   E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Apause and its Scientific Evidence-base

During the halcyon days when Apause contributed to scientific research, I was privileged to count the late and great Doug Kirby as a colleague. Doug’s work and legacy were recently cited in an excellent article, What does science tell us about Sex Ed? As I dutifully read the paper, a persistent voice yawned, “So, what’s new?” until I reached the paragraphs below:

"About 90 percent of the beneficial programs in the Kirby analysis included at least two interactive activities to help participants engage with the lessons via acting out scenarios or other exercises.

At the end of the day, what young people need is the interpersonal skills to negotiate and communicate and to refuse. And to teach that, you’re going to spend an awful lot of time role-playing and not a lot of time labeling body parts,” said Leslie Kantor, chair of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at the Rutgers School of Public Health. Nearly all of the effective programs in the Kirby review discussed specific sexual and protective behaviors. Usually this included encouraging abstinence as well as the use of condoms or other contraception if and when a person chose to become sexually active. Finally, 90 percent of these programs provided training to the educators who delivered the curriculum."

 

Role-plays and interactive activities

I am extremely proud to say that Apause (1995) was included as one of the 83 effective programmes in Kirby’s international study (2007) and, unsurprisingly, Apause does, indeed, spend an ‘awful lot of time role-playing’ and acting out scenarios. Moreover, Apause embraced the 17 characteristics Kirby identified as being common to effective RSE.

Tragically, in my opinion, the current political climate militates against the implementation of evidence-based, comprehensive RSE programmes through educational and health authorities. But if they did, the effective ones would almost certainly place a premium on relationships skills, role-plays and simulations.

Training and Resources

Do not misunderstand me, highly interactive classroom activities put special demands on the skill-sets of teachers, and such experiential learning methods do not ‘naturally’ emerge from a responsive and cooperative class. Pedagogies of this kind require careful structuring and sequencing of classroom stimuli, but many teachers and peer educators who may have thought such an approach was well outside their comfort zone have learned to become accomplished facilitators through Apause video-supported, training and even during first use of the resources.

Anatomy

What about body parts? Yes, these are very important. Especially if we think young people should raise their expectations when it comes to negotiating the intricacies of giving and receiving sexual pleasure. But this kind of anatomical knowledge needs to be encountered within an inclusive classroom ethos and contextualised with models which normalise respectful and consensual relationships. Moreover, sometimes verbal languages do not fully encompass these interactions, at such times the deployment of novel theatrical devices such as floor-puppets can present more meaningful reflections of young people’s realities.

Can we help you? 

Visit our home page to get a flavour of how we are trying to offer practical and useful solutions to the challenge of statory RSE.

Our website is in the process of improvement and you may want to ask some specific questions.

Contact me

Contact me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to discuss how a low cost, high value collaboration with Apause could support you.

 

David Evans is the CEO and senior trainer/developer of Apause. He is completing his PhD in interactive RSE methods, at Goldsmiths, University of London

Typical Challenges in RSE

Back in February I was approached by a head of pastoral education to work with staff on some specific challenges and themes in RSE. On consultation with her colleagues, they had reached a consensus. Two overarching challenges had emerged - lack of subject specific knowledge and how to position their own personal experiences and convictions within their classroom practice and ethos. Curricular themes included pornography, sexualities, sexual practices and the place of RSE in a secular school with students of multiple faiths. In short, many of the challenges typically faced by teachers in UK schools.

Except this was an international school in Prague.

'No Apause, please.'

Having worked hard on my preparation, I opted for a very practical and fun approach, hoping to leave them with some useful starting points, resources and a sense of their own growing agency. I was happy to point to the work of the Sex Education Forum, and ‘Do RSE for Schools’ alongside many other useful web-based sources. I had been explicitly requested NOT to train in, or promote, our Apause approach - just offer it as another available resource.

'More Apause, please.'

I was surprised and excited to be invited back for two more full days of training in August. This time my brief was quite different. The staff needed clear models, and a very practical, ‘hands-on’ approach to understanding and navigating their way through our range of Apause exercises. I had four sessions of two and half hours. Each with a group of 15 – 20 form tutors.

What worked? - Hands-on, classroom videos, flexible guidelines.

This was a privilege. It gave me the rare opportunity to experiment with and refine some novel approaches to articulating our philosophy and exploring our work. I learned three practical lessons: a) they wanted to handle the resource and interact with their colleagues as peers, in much the same way as their students would, b) they valued seeing videos showing how the same resources stimulated interactions amongst English students, and c) they were reassured that our Teacher Guides were no more than that, just one way of navigating through the process of organising the resources and focusing the learners’ interactions, feedback and class discussion. Each teacher was encouraged to develop their own distinctive style of facilitation.

For evaluation, I asked them to comment on how practical and useful they had found the training and resources.

The whole experience inspired me to have another look at our home page and redesign it to reflect a growing insight into how Apause might contribute to the challenges of statutory RSE. Check out our new Home Page.

Testimonials from curriculum leaders

Testimonials about resources and training

A healthy RSE curriculum is always going to be work in progress and experts and service providers need to work reciprocally with frontline practitioners. This is the beginning of my relationship with Prague British International School.

If you would like to discuss our work, try out and give feedback on some free samples, or collaborate on a project, contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I would love to hear from you.

David Evans

 

 

Harnessing peer influences with the excitement of drama and performance 

This exciting new course examines the two most powerful teaching tools in RSE - drama and peer influences - and shows how they can be combined in your classroom.

Whatever your level of experience, this course enables teachers and health professionals to develop the practical skills and insights that will bring fun and relevance to RSE sessions.  Whether you are creating a session from scratch, adapting a published session or using one of our own Apause exercises as a starting point, this course will help you discover ways of unlocking the dramatic potential of the theme and create the kinds of interactions that help young people to make sense of their relationships and feel more empowered to manage them effectively.

Course Information

Top Tips for using drama 

Fees:             

 

Full-day (10.00 am to 4.30 pm) £130      

Summer term Date:

 

London - 29th June LIFT Centre

 

At: The Lift, 45 White Lion St, London N1 9PW (3 mins walk from Angel Tube) www.liftislington.org.uk/find-us

 

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 About your trainer - David Evans    
I have been researching and training RSE for more than 20 years.  My doctoral thesis at Goldsmiths will be completed in 2019.  This is a theoretical framework showing how the drama and performative elements of Apause have made a unique contribution to its behavioural effectiveness. I am project manager of RAP, a programme of relationships education for vulnerable and hard to reach young people, and CEO of the Health Behaviour Group.
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Iontact us:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T: 01392 829450 M: 07812 561123