Expanding the reach of the Esteem programme

In spite of COVID, this academic year has been a significant year of training expansion for us. By rapidly adapting to the lockdowns and offering our accredited training online (with agreement from Open College Network West Midlands), we have been able to deliver relationships and sex education (RSE) training to an increased number of people and are delighted that we have been able to smash our targets!

Our aim was to grow our network to 140 educators by August 2021 but, by running 10 training courses over the last year, our network now consists of 210 passionate, equipped educators who are skilled in delivering quality RSE to the young people they work with. We also increased the number of teachers we trained in schools this year and, due to the success of this, we are piloting a new venture - an Advanced Practitioners Course.

Seven of the educators in the network were chosen by our Esteem Network Director to trial this course in August. The seven will then shadow our expert trainers when they run a course and the practitioners themselves will then lead another course (with our assistance) in order to become more confident and experienced in their delivery. We hope that after this tried and tested method (which doctors in hospitals use) of "see one, do one, teach one”, the advanced practitioners will be equipped to run their own INSET (in service education training) days in their local schools. This will take the pressure off our own small team and also, importantly, increase our reach, as the practitioners come from all over the country. We are really excited by this as it means we are moving closer to our goal of reaching even more young people with good quality, engaging, and interactive RSE.

We estimate that our network reached more than 35,000 young people last year but the reach could be significantly higher than this, due to the nature of delivery. We know that our members reached at least 23,000 young people in person, but online sessions have varied the transmission route. For example, our staff team reached more than 3,000 people in London and Chester delivering lessons via live video link. However, one of our members, the Message Trust, created videos for young people to watch and some videos have had more than 63,000 views! Of course, we don't know how many of these viewers were young people, but the potential scale of reach is vast and very exciting.

"The online training surprised me. I was worried I wouldn't be able to connect with my fellow learners or our educator but, with Gareth’s tech-savvy skills and ability to come across as human and engaging, it was really easy to learn and feel part of a classroom setting. The course being online made it very accessible, especially for those with disabilities."