Youth Workers’ Views about Youth and SRE: Provision and Practice
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The previous chapters showed that UK national and international policies on SRE interventions and adolescent sexuality remain ambiguous and contentious, with many school-based teachers encountering SRE as a difficult and somewhat demanding subject. SRE messages have also been shown to be less successful than anticipated due to how gendered heterosexual practices and pressures intersect with class-related processes and aspirations in teens’ lives and sexual encounters. Building on this, Chapter 5 draws on my own empirical research from interviews with youth workers and observations of the youth worker-based SRE programme called ‘U-Chooz’ (pseudonym) which educates teens in Year 9 and 10 across comprehensive schools. Youth workers usually work in informal settings, so the school context provides a unique and all important opportunity to capture a large adolescent audience as well as a more formalised structure. The chapter critically explores youth workers’ ideas, values and perceptions around teen sexuality and SRE which then usefully inform SRE provision and practice (Chapter 6 gives young people’s responses to the programme). Youth workers compared to school-based teachers hold a wealth of specialised knowledge about adolescent sexuality, including youth informal cultures and sexual health services.
KeywordsYoung People Informal Educator Adolescent Sexuality Youth Worker Broad Society
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