Teenage-led sex education 'may have led to fewer pregnancies'

A teenage-led sex education programme was popular with pupils and may have led to fewer teenage pregnancies, according to the Medical Research Council.

It funded the Randomised Intervention of Pupil-Led sex Education (RIPPLE) study which compared the effects of new peer-led and the existing teacher-led sex education given to 13 and 14-year-olds.

27 schools and 9,000 pupils took part.

In the peer-led programme trained 16-17-year-old peer educators gave three one-hour sessions to younger pupils in the same school.

The researchers then used routinely-recorded data on abortions and live births to find out how many female study participants had an unintended pregnancy before they reached 20 years old.

The findings revealed that the peer-led programme delayed girls having sex and may have led to them having fewer babies than girls in the teacher-led programme. But the peer-led programme had little effect on other areas of sexual health.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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