The Role of External Professionals in Education about Sexual Orientation—towards good practice
Throughout England, young people in schools are entitled to a comprehensive programme of sex education as part of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). Current debate about the content of such a programme is informed by new government guidance on sex and relationship education as well as pre-existing concerns about homophobic bullying, sexual health and mental health. In an English local authority, an externally funded Young Gay and Bisexual Men's Development Worker provided educational activities to address sexual orientation and identity issues to four schools. An evaluation sought to identify whether successes had been achieved and why. A further aim was to identify useful learning about the role of external professionals in carrying out effective education about sexual orientation with young people in schools. The evaluation was developed within the context of a number of 'real-world' limitations. Nevertheless, a significant number of project successes (and areas for development) were documented. Successes included raising awareness of key issues among pupils and supporting teachers engaged in PSHE. Key factors contributing to success included: adequate preparation of teachers and pupils in schools; an appropriately skilled and experienced project worker; and a considered approach to building partnerships with schools and working with young people.
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