SASHES Peer Education

SASHES stands for 'Student Access to Sexual Health / Education about Services'.

The idea grew from a realisation that young people need more information about how to access sexual health services. Sex and Relationships Education does not always address this need.

The Camden and Islington Sexual Health Education Team (SHET) have been running school visits to sexual health services for several years. They found that services had limited capacity to accommodate large groups. 

The team came up with an innovative solution based on peer education. Accompanied by a school staff member two students from each class across one year group (usually Year 10) visit a local sexual health service at a time when it is closed to the public.

They are given a guided tour of the service including:

  • Meeting a member of the clinic staff
  • Doing a mock registration and learning about confidentiality
  • Discovering what to expect from a consultation through role-play
  • Looking at the range of contraception available
  • Finding out how pregnancy tests and STI tests are done

When the students get back to school they make a short presentation to their class.  This is supported by a visiting facilitator from the SHET team. 

A similar initiative in Lambeth has developed a powerpoint presentation with photos of the Brook clinic in Brixton. Peer educators who have visited Brook in Brixton use this to help them communicate to the class.  The SHET team are now planning to emulate this good practice and make photo collections for the clinics visited in Camden and Islington.

Both the peer educators and the other students give positive feedback:

"I liked when the kids we knew told us about their trip, we could learn more intimately about it. I felt comfortable about speaking". Year 10 student

Teachers also find the process to be an important learning opportunity. SHET has produced clear guidelines to help other schools and clinics run the scheme. This covers selection and support of peer educators and how teachers can be involved.

Contact: Steve Gray