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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Forrest

Strange, V., Forrest, S., Oakley, A., Stephenson, J. & & the RIPPLE Study Team. (2006). Sex and relationship education for 13–16 year olds: evidence from England. Sex Education 6(1): 31-46.

Author(s) from Durham


This article examines the quantity and content of sex and relationship education (SRE) delivered to students in Years 9-11 (aged 13-16 years) in 12 coeducational state secondary schools in England during 1997-2000. Teachers reported the delivery of an average of seven (range 0-12) sessions of SRE across the three years, with no SRE delivered in up to five schools in each year. Most teachers reported having covered contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and relationships at least once. Topics such as homosexuality and the negotiation of relationships and sexual encounters were rarely covered. Data collected from students provided a slightly different picture. At least one-half of students in all schools reported having received some SRE during Year 9 and at least 85% reported receiving some SRE during Years 10 and/or 11. Teachers identified various factors that limited the quality of the SRE delivered. The article discusses some of the challenges that arose when attempting to reconcile data gathered from students and teachers.