Relationships and Sex Education

Relationships and sex education with the vulnerable and hard-to-reach

For some young people life has already encumbered them with too many challenges to thrive in mainstream education, where often their specific learning and behavioral needs cannot be met. As well as facing social and educational disadvantages, this group face increased risk of mental health problems, substance misuse, unemployment, crime, unwanted pregnancies with poor sexual and relational health.

RAP was originally developed as a peer-education programme which would explore and address these challenges. Two very important ideas quickly emerged: firstly we would need to work with similarly disadvantaged young people as researchers, developers and facilitators; secondly, it is only through the quality of relationship engendered between learners and facilitators that any transformative learning can take place.

Even in such specialist contexts as PRUs, School Inclusion Units, Teenage Parents Units and Young Offenders Institutions, developing worthwhile learning relationships is a constant challenge.

 RAP draws on young people’s experiences and uses them in carefully crafted scripts. Often learners perform these scripts alongside peer-educators.

The Scene Manager also uses the script to carefully focus the interrogation of the scene. Learners quickly feel confident enough to take on the role of Scene Manager.

Facilitators can use exploratory discussion to help the group uncover some of the social factors that put relationships under pressure.

In this instance neither of the young couple is a drug user, but an older brother who deals is still able to introduce a serious threat to their relationship.

Creative ‘working’ of the scenarios can spontaneously give rise to the improvisation of novel scenes. These are scripted and integrated into the programme for new groups of learners to explore.