Year 12 students were told about the programme during assembly and/or form time.
They were informed about the commitment involved in taking part and those who expressed an interest were asked to attend a further meeting.
Peer education is increasingly popular, especially as a method of delivering health information in schools (Svenson, 1998; Social Exclusion Unit, 1999; Df EE, 2000).
Its proponents claim that peer leaders have an advantage over teachers because they are regarded as more credible sources of information, and a number of psychosocial theories, e.g.
Twenty-seven co-educational comprehensive secondary schools in central southern England were recruited to the study in 1997 and randomly allocated to receive either a programme of peer-led sex education (in 14 schools) delivered by Year 12 students (aged 16/17 years) to two successive cohorts of students in Year 9 (aged 13/14 years) or to act as controls by continuing with their teacher-led provision (13 schools).
The effectiveness of peer-led sex education is being assessed through questionnaires completed by young people 6 months and 2 years after the intervention.
Peer educators were recruited to the discussions on an basis; the constraints of the school timetable meant that some were excluded from the focus groups because of their academic commitments.
The two papers in this series present data collected from peer educators in the RIPPLE (Randomized Intervention of Pu Pil-Led sex Education) study.
The first paper discussed the characteristics and views of the young people who volunteered to become peer educators.
The training course provided information on a range of sexual health issues under the broad headings of relationships, STDs and contraception, and aimed to develop teaching/presentation skills.
Trainers encouraged peer educators to work in small groups, to test different activities (e.g.