Turning Point trains students to be peer educators

News item posted: 17 March 2017

Over 20 Year 11 pupils from eight of the Royal Borough's secondary schools - Altwood, Cox Green, Charters, Desborough, Furze Platt, Newlands, Windsor Boys' and Windsor Girls' - will be undertaking a four-day training course to teach them how to provide drug, alcohol and sexual health awareness sessions to their peers in Years 8 and 9.

The training starts on Monday 23 July and consists of three days' drugs and alcohol training and one day of sexual health training. The young people learn about drugs and alcohol education, how to be a peer educator, what it involves and how to devise a workshop session to deliver in their school. The sexual health day will be run by the Berkshire East NHS Sexual Health Team. This day covers sexual health signposting and chlamydia testing.

The peer education courses, which have been delivered by Turning Point for the last three years, are developed each year based on students' and teachers' feedback. This year, Turning Point is working with the borough's youth services and the training will go towards an ASDAN (Award Scheme Development & Accreditation Network) award in PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education). The course also benefits from a presentation by schools officer PC Graham Slater on drugs and the law.

During the autumn term the peers will provide education sessions to pupils in Years 8 and 9 (dependent on the school system). These sessions can include participation in schools' 'focus days' when the school devotes a day to personal safety/risky behaviour or as part of a Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lesson. The peers lead the session with support from Turning Point's young people's project workers who will help them deal with any difficult questions or classroom issues.

Cllr Simon Dudley, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: "The programme has been used successfully in the past - with positive feedback from young people and teachers.

"Previous experience of this peer approach has also included clear guidance on the need for confidentiality and signposting for appropriate support. The course is developed each year and the presentation by the police on drugs and the law is sure to be very beneficial and popular with the young people."

Cllr Eileen Quick, cabinet member for children's services, said: "Being a peer drugs educator enables young people to take an active role in their school, gain a wealth of knowledge and be more confident.

"I am delighted that we give our young people the opportunity to undertake such invaluable training which benefits them and their peers."

Theresa Allen, Turning Point project worker, said: "Every year the programme goes from strength to strength. It is often easier for a teenager to speak to an older student than a teacher or other adult, therefore the programme educates older students with the information they need to act as peer mentors to support younger people to make healthier choices. This provides young people with an opportunity to see that not everyone does drugs and there are alternative lifestyles to lead."