Q1. How can we fund sexual
health services in further education settings?
Q2. Can we include 14-16 year
olds in college services?
Q3. Can we offer a confidential
sexual health service in further education settings?
Q4. Will we get adverse media
Q5. What is the role of tutors
in promoting young people's sexual health?
Q6. How can we support young
Q1. How can we fund sexual health
services in further education settings?
There is no single model for funding on-site services, but
successful strategies include:
1. Effective networking which helps to build relationships
and facilitate 'finding out fast' about funding possibilities.
2. Multi-agency working and joint commissioning which
enables the pooling of expertise and resources. All partners
involved should contribute resources, as this generates joint
ownership and commitment from all parties.
3. Exploring the possibility of accessing local grants, for
example through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and European Social
4. Starting small with an achievable and relatively
inexpensive goal, such as setting up a condom distribution scheme,
then evaluating progress and using evidence of success to attract
PCT and Local Authorities are jointly responsible for the Public
Service Agreement to reduce teenage pregnancies. The PCT should
provide sexual health services in colleges because it will help
them to achieve their targets.
In some colleges health professionals employed by the PCT visit
the college to staff a drop-in clinic, for example three
lunch-times per week.
The involvement of specialist contraception and sexual health
nurses extends the range of services that can be offered in a
non-medical setting. It also extends the PCTs access to a key
Provided adequate training is given, non-medical professionals
such as student services staff and counsellors can offer condom
distribution and pregnancy testing. Combining PCT funded medical
professionals with trained non-medical staff in this way is an
extremely efficient use of resources. This creates joint ownership
so helps to ensure sustainability.
PCTs also provide non-staff resources such as local health
promotion campaign materials and access to free condom schemes.
Many PCTs are actively engaging with further education settings in
their Chlamydia Screening Programme, at no extra cost.
Connexions Partnerships provide Information, Advice and Guidance
(IAG) services to young people aged 13-19, and allocate a
proportion of their Personal Adviser resource to support students
in further education.
Some Personal Advisors have been trained as sexual health
specialists so can contribute to an on-site sexual health service.
Similarly the local youth service may be able to allocate some
youth worker time to spend supporting young people in further
Local voluntary sector agencies may also have the capacity to
Further education institutions are funded by the Learning and
Skills Council (LSC). The LSC determines funding mainly on the
basis of the number of students enrolled and the qualifications
As there is currently no dedicated budget for student services
decisions as to how much money to spend on student services are for
The LSC currently allocate just over £800 per student per year
specifically for use in providing enrichment, tutorial and key
skills. Colleges are advised to dedicate approximately 5 hours a
week per full time student to meet this 'Learner Entitlement'.
Learner Entitlement funding can provide a resource for colleges
to develop SRE delivered through tutorial, enrichment and key
Q2. Can we include14-16 year olds in
Yes. 14-16 year olds can and should be fully included in college
The number of 14-16 year olds getting some of their education in
college is increasing. In 2005, over 100,000 14-16 year olds took
courses at college as part of the '14-16 Increased Flexibility
These programmes have been well evaluated and provide a platform
of experience from which to develop effective systems for the first
wave of specialised diplomas in 2007, which will involve an
increasing cohort of 14-16 year olds spending time in college. To
respond to the new cohort of younger learners some colleges have
employed a 14-16 manager, who is responsible for both curriculum
The AoC & LEACAN recommend that this younger cohort be
enrolled as full college members. Schools should note that they
retain the prime duty of care for their pupils.
Legally, FE Colleges must provide schools with adequate details
of provision to enable the school to obtain parental consent for
their child to participate. These details should include
information about the range of student support services available
in the college.
In obtaining parental consent schools need to provide
information that includes details of on-site health and welfare
Parents have a right of withdrawal from non-statutory SRE
delivered in school. The college should communicate details of any
SRE to be delivered to 14-16s.
Equipped with these details of provision, the school should
inform parents of any non-statutory SRE that is included in the
Evidence suggests that parents are very supportive of SRE
programmes delivered in school and college settings. Indeed if
young learners are attending college while SRE and PSHE are being
delivered at school it is important for colleges to ensure that
they do not miss out.
Where a college has a number of school partners it is sensible
to agree a common procedure for all schools. In some cases
communications between the further education provider and schools
are brokered through the Local authority or the LSC. However the
same responsibilities outlined above apply.
In accordance with DfES and AoC guidance a variety of measures
will support effective inclusion of 14-16s in college welfare
1. The college should provide a thorough induction for
young learners at the start of their programme including a tour
showing them where student services can be found. It is essential
that the confidential nature of services is explained.
2. As well as the learner contract, a young learner's
handbook should contain information about the college services
including details of the tutorial and pastoral support system.
3. Celebrating young learners achievements will help build
their motivation and self-esteem. For example celebrating the
signing of the learner's contract and involving successful role
models from previous programmes.
4. All staff should be informed about arrangements relating
to young learners including their right to access to the full range
of student services including confidential sexual health
5. Staff unfamiliar with working with young learners will
need to access further training on continuing professional
development (CPD) programmes that address the pastoral and
behavioural support needs of younger learners.
Legal Requirements for FE Colleges providing for young learners,
Best Practice Guidance for Doctors and other Health
Professionals on the Provision of Advice and Treatment to Young
People under 16 on Contraception, Sexual and Reproductive
Health, (DoH 2004).
Q3. Can we offer a confidential
sexual health service in further education settings?
Yes. FE and sixth form colleges and work-based learning
providers can offer a confidential sexual health service.
All young people, including those aged under-16 have a right to
access confidential sexual health advice and treatment. This right
is supported in law in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Assurance of confidentiality is of paramount importance to young
Colleges already offering one-to-one advice with counsellors and
student advisors are likely to have a confidentiality policy in
place. It is good practice to review this document, asking for
input from a range of people affected.
The college child-protection policy should be read in tandem
with the confidentiality policy. Child protection procedures
explain what to do if a serious threat is identified to the safety
of a young person which might lead to the need to disclose
It is vitally important that both the confidentiality policy and
the child-protection policy are understood by all staff, not just
those staff who have a welfare role. One breach of a young person's
confidentiality can permanently jeopardise trust.
Health professionals have their own code of professional conduct
that covers confidentiality, child-protection and duty of care. As
college sexual health services are likely to be delivered through a
multi-agency partnership it is important to check that policies are
consistent and mutually understood and supported.
Health professionals will be familiar with using the Fraser
guidelines with young people under 16 years as a procedure for
checking the young person's understanding and competence to consent
Fraser guidelines are regularly used with young people.
They help service providers to check if young people understand the
emotional and physical implications of sexual activity, are not
being pressurised into sexual activity, and are aware of the
benefits of communicating with a responsible adult about their
Reference to the use of Fraser guidelines can be made in the
college confidentiality policy, thus ensuring that the policy
caters for all learners.
Professionals delivering sexual health services in any setting
have a responsibility to explain the confidentiality and
child-protection policy to young people.
This may need to be explained through a conversation as well as
having a written version. Literacy and fluency in the English
language cannot be taken for granted. But full understanding of the
confidentiality available is vitally important and will encourage
take-up of services.
Sheffield college were successful in developing joint ownership
of their confidentiality policy through engaging partners in a
steering group. See case
Q4. Will we get adverse media
When colleges are new to providing sexual health services senior
managers often fear negative press coverage. The worry is often
that providing free condoms in college will be seen be
misrepresented by the media as 'encouraging young people to have
Since the launch of the teenage pregnancy strategy in 1999
access to free condoms for young people has increased and the rate
of teenage conceptions has dropped and there has been no change in
the age at which young people become sexually active.
Young people see the provision of condoms in college as a
practical and helpful approach.
Both at the local and national level there are examples of
responsible media coverage of teenage sexual health issues.
Identifying a supportive journalist can really help. By taking a
pro-active approach to the media when launching a new service,
clear messages can be promoted.
Preparing a joint press release together with partners in the
local health authority and PCT can make the process easier.
Young people are very critical of the media for the mixed
messages portrayed about sex:
"Especially in the music videos - sex sells - they just make it
sordid and dirty - they are not promoting it in the right
way" College student, aged 17
But they can also have a constructive role in creating positive
media messages. Following discussions with the local public health
manager, art and design students at South Thames College were
invited to design submissions for a local sexual health
Not only did the results communicate powerfully to young people,
but the competition made a platform for positive publicity, and a
means to raise the self-esteem of the young people involved.
Q5. What is the role of tutors in
promoting young people's sexual health?
Sexual health can be a challenging topic for both adults and
young people. Not all tutors feel comfortable, confident or
competent in leading discussions about sexual health with their
The extent to which tutors engage with sexual health topics
should be a matter of choice. However a minimum expectation is that
all tutors signpost young people to the services available.
Training and support will develop the confidence and competence
of tutors to facilitate discussions and learning about sexual
In some cases tutors are leading innovative sexual health work
with young people at a very high standard. The energy and
commitment that tutors give to developing sexual health projects
needs to be recognised and rewarded. Tutors can play an important
championing role helping other tutors to get involved across the
Tutors are often the first port of call when young people
experience personal difficulties that impact on their ability to
attend college and concentrate on their studies. They are
well-placed to build a young person's confidence to approach health
Tutors can help increase the take-up of both on and off-site
services by informing the group as a whole about how, where and
when they can be accessed.
Tutors may worry that raising issues relating to sexual health
will prompt questions and disclosures that are difficult to handle.
Tutors need to be clear about boundaries and to refer young people
for specialist help.
Q6. How can we support young LGBT
Although the use of services is often monitored by gender, less
is known about the sexual orientation of young service users.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people say that
they often feel excluded from services and may conceal their sexual
orientation because they are afraid of negative
Many further education colleges have an active Student Union.
This provides an ideal forum to audit SRE and service provision
from the perspective of equality and diversity.
Many colleges have set up LGBT groups. In some cases a student
chairs the club and is supported by the Equal Opportunities
Officer. Information about local services providing services for
young LGBT people can be displayed on a notice-board, and outside
agencies may support the group by attending meetings.
By creating links with local services and making information
visible some of the inequality which young LGBT people experience
can be addressed.