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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Simon Forrest

Forrest, S., , Strange, V.,, Oakley, A., & & the RIPPLE team. (2002). A Comparison of Students' Evaluations of a Peer-delivered Sex Education Programme and Teacher-led Provision. Sex Education 2(3): 195-214.

Author(s) from Durham


This article reports data from the process evaluation of a randomised controlled trial of peer-led sex education in English secondary schools. Data from 52 focus group discussions in 19 schools and selected items from a questionnaire survey completed by 7770 students in 1998/99 are used to compare student views on teacher- and peer-led sex education. Questionnaire data show that a significantly greater proportion of students taught by peer educators than teachers felt that sex education was enjoyable, engaging and useful to them. Data also show that a slightly greater proportion of students taught by teachers felt the classroom was well controlled. Data from an analysis of the focus group discussions are used to explore and illustrate factors which students associated with the acceptability and satisfaction of the peer-led intervention. The importance of peer educator empathy and similarity with students is highlighted and data show how these characteristics are associated with peer educators' choice of teaching methods, the content of lessons and the sexual values and attitudes they espouse. The influence of contextual factors like student prior expectations and experiences of relationships with teachers, school environment and norms are considered along with the potential influence of the research process on responses.