Young people are more likely to use sexual health services if they can access them at schools, according to research by the University of the West of England.
A pilot scheme offering drop-in sexual health clinics in Bristol schools has successfully accessed "hard to reach" groups including boys and vulnerable young people who would not otherwise have received advice.
Young people using the service reacted very positively to it, and said that the approachability and accessibility of staff was key to its success.
Nurses or youth workers provided advice and treatment including contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and advice, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and other health-related issues. The multidisciplinary nature of the team was another reason the success – youth workers were key in preventive work and talking to young men.
Councillor Peter Hammond, Deputy Leader of Bristol City Council and Executive Member for Cohesion and Raising Attainment, said: "The findings of this research show how important it is for young people to have access to advice and help with sexual health issues in a setting that is convenient to them. Parents should be reassured that the confidential service will always include advice that young people should talk to their parents about their situation."
"Sounds like a great idea. When I was at school, I had two lessons about how someone gets pregnant from an embarrassed biology teacher and nowhere to go and ask questions about anything else. Schools should provide a holistic service for young people looking at their physical, sexual and mental health needs so they can concentrate on their best academic performance" – Paul Jefferson, Bristol