Children as young as 14 will be teaching their peers sex education in school following a Government grant of over £200,000 to a sexual health charity.
The children, 100 “disadvantaged” 14-19-year-olds, will be trained as “Sexual Health Champions” and go on to teach fellow teens Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) within schools and youth organisations.
The scheme is being run by the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) which has been granted £203,528 by the Department for Education for the programme.
The THT scheme will involve coordinators in five English cities training the teens, who will go on to give SRE sessions to 2,000 of their peers.
Sir Nick Partridge, THT’s Chief Executive, said the group was “delighted” to receive the money.
Last year when teenagers in Scotland, in a separate scheme, were giving sex education lessons to fellow pupils the project faced criticism.
At the time Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: “Parents and teachers should not be abdicating their responsibilities in this way and using school children to offer advice in areas where they lack the necessary wisdom, experience and maturity.”
Earlier this year an abortion provider targeted young people with a controversial ‘safe sex’ video which appeared to advocate dangerous sexual behaviour. The video featured comedy music group The Midnight Beast.
Last year it emerged that teenagers were being offered a GCSE-style qualification in sex, which taught them how to use condoms and obtain the morning-after pill.
And in 2009 a graphic NHS video for teenagers depicting a schoolgirl giving birth on a playing field was banned by YouTube.
The video, designed to look like footage filmed on a mobile phone by schoolchildren, was produced as part of NHS Leicester City’s drive to encourage teenagers to use contraception.