Relationships and Sex Education

The SRE Project is an initiative from the Health Behaviour Group focusing on the effective delivery of sex and relationships education within secondary schools.

We are a small charity (Reg.No. 1116532) formed from the University of Exeter Department of Child Health in 2006. We have historically obtained most of our revenue from contracts to supply our programmes to schools, local education authorities, health trusts and authorities. Research and development funding has come from health services, government and grant awarding bodies. We make no profits and the changing arrangements for services under the current government mean we now also rely on donations and voluntary work. Schools have few resources available for PSHE, an area of the curriculum which is un-examined, largely un-assessed and does not contribute to their all-important league status. 

Effective SRE is crucial to the healthy development of young people. We aim to make SRE effective and universal. How? By making it affordable, accessible, achievable for teachers and applicable to students’ lives. The programmes we offer are aimed at helping young people with their understanding of relationships – not just biology. Our curricula, we believe, represent a minimal entitlement of every child. Schools are, of course, encouraged to enlarge on and develop our work- with our assistance if wanted.

Our classroom materials can be downloaded free or purchased at cost inclusive of P&P from our shop. Most classroom resources are complicated to photocopy, and so we minimise hassle by making ours laminated and re-usable. They come as individual exercises or bundles and we include everything you need to run the programme such as Training CDs, model letters and other documents etc. (see Resources)

As primary and measurable health targets we aim to reduce the number of sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies. This is achieved through relationships education, by giving young people the knowledge, values and confidence to choose healthy behaviours in their relationships. We thus encourage delay of first intercourse, because later starters make better decisions and better use of contraception when, and if, a couple opt for a sexual relationship. We are not an abstinence campaign. We are concerned that young people use sexual health services in good time and effectively.

We want to equip young people to be adults who will enjoy long term, healthy, respectful and fulfilling sexual relationships.

Our most established programme for mainstream secondary education is Apause (Added Power and Understanding in Sex Education) — a set of classroom-ready resources to be delivered by teachers and/or older peers. Apause is suitable and adaptable for all types of schools including single sex and faith.

We have set up a project in Malawi to trial an East African version which might be critically important for young people in a country where sexual health is comparatively poor. It is proving highly acceptable in a quite different culture and hugely popular with secondary school students. See Malawi project for more information.

We also offer two drama-based programmes:

RAP (Respect and Protect) engages vulnerable and hard-to-reach young people such as those in care, Pupil Referral Units, School Inclusion Units and Young Offenders Institutions

Get-WISE - enables young people to learn and practice the negotiation skills needed to develop safe and mutually rewarding relationships. Scenarios explored are verbal and non-verbal, and examine starting out, giving pleasure, degrees of intimacy, condom use and accessing services.

Our history

In the late eighties Dr John Tripp, a leading paediatrician in adolescent health, began a series of research projects into sexual risk-taking behaviours among adolescents. The findings underpinned the development of the Apause programme.

Apause was the first programme in the UK and one of a few in the world, to demonstrate that classroom-based learning could significantly reduce young people’s risk-taking behaviour through postponement of first intercourse, better use of contraception and more 'mature' attitudes towards sex and relationships. (Mellanby et al 1995NFER 2004).

Read more of our history