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THE 2022 FESTIVAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
22 October - 13 November
FoSS and ESRC logos

The importance of listening to youth voice: relationships and sex education

Stylistic picture of a girl with no mouth

My local area theme

What’s on offer?

Join Dr Sophie King-Hill, youth professionals, young people and researchers for an enlightening discussion on the importance of listening to young people’s views on relationships and sex education. This event is co-designed by young people and will provide a unique opportunity for them to share their thoughts on a subject that is rarely in the spotlight. 

We welcome you for an afternoon of taboo-busting talks and debate followed by time for light refreshments and networking. This is a great opportunity for interested members of the public to learn more about this important issue and visit the University of Birmingham campus in Edgbaston.

The session will proceed as follows:

  • Introduction from Dr Sophie King-Hill (Senior Fellow, University of Birmingham): ‘Youth voice in relationships and sex – where are we now’
  • David Russel (Community Safety & Justice Manager at Midlothian Council & previous early intervention Senior Practitioner for third sector children services): ‘Harmful sexual behaviour in children and young people: why we need to listen to youth voice’
  • Scarlett: ‘A 13-year-olds perspective on sexual harassment in schools’
  • Jonny Davis (Mantality society lead and University of Birmingham student): ‘Spirituality and Masculinity: Its practical relevance. Exploring the relationship of spirituality and masculinity and its significant relevance amongst young men and teenagers’

Refreshment break

  • Fiona Lee (SEN lead teacher): ‘The right to relationships and sex education for young people with verbal and non-verbal special educational needs’
  • Abby Gilsenan (University of Birmingham PhD researcher and research assistant on the sibling sexual abuse project): ‘Exploring young women’s experiences of Relationships and Sex Education in Catholic contexts: the importance of listening to young voices’
  • Rebecca Jennings (Lead for Raise Education): ’Raising awareness in Relationships and Sex education in schools'

Refreshment break

  • Bec Tigue (Director of the University of Birmingham Training School): ‘What happens when we listen – using students as agents of change’
  • A symposium of youth speakers aged 14-18: Topics to include - changing school policy, period poverty, internet relationships, peer pressure and hypersexuality, the danger of the generational digital gap, LGBTQ+ issues in RSE, and the links between queerness, people of colour and religion.
  • Summary from Dr Sophie King-Hill

Talks will be followed by a professional networking session with refreshments

What’s it about?

Research has shown that being heard is important to young people who often feel distanced from important conversations and decisions that affect them, especially regarding relationships and sex. Listening to the views of young people is vitally important to provide appropriate education that supports safe, healthy sexual behaviour and fulfilling relationships. This event aims to uncouple the shame and taboo that is so often associated with discussions around sexual behaviour in young people and promises to be a great opportunity for parents, professionals and the wider public to engage in this important, yet often overlooked, topic.

Who’s leading the event?

Dr Sophie King-Hill (Senior Fellow, University of Birmingham): ‘Youth voice in relationships and sex – where are we now’

Open to

This event is open to both professionals, parents and any members of the public who are interested in issues relating to relationships and sex education for young people.

Of particular interest to

This will be of interest to parents, professionals working in relationships and sex education (RSE), school staff, social workers, third sector workers, youth workers, criminal justice teams, the wider public, and of course, young people themselves.