Education Update – May 2017

We had had a very busy and successful few terms since being employed in February.

We were delighted that we were able to secure funding in order to support the production of our year six pupil packs, thank you to all those involved. So far this year we have presented our six-hour sex and relationship education tutorials to six schools with nine more still to go. We currently have a team of seven alternating and going into primary schools and are pleased to welcome Carys Vaughan and Carolyn Mahan to our presenting staff this year.

We are thrilled that, having brought forward a proposal as to how ASET will continue, the trustees have agreed we can employ a primary presenter for the next academic year; we hope to expand our reach but also access more Stamford schools. This appointment will also enable us to develop the secondary presentations we have on offer in order to address current needs, as well as being a good source of income and enabling us to further professionalise and future-proof our work.

We are continuing to develop excellent relationships with local secondary education bringing presentations on consent, sexual health and pornography in addition to the centre-staffed drop-ins. We also hope to pursue a specialised programme working with students with additional needs later this year. We have enjoyed presenting our tailor-made presentation on self-esteem and social media at a school, and are delighted that this has also been adopted by an additional school, who we will present to next month. We would like to expand this presentation further, developing a complimentary presentation focused on boys and their identity.

For slightly older students we are hoping to develop a presentation on healthy relationships in order to help to address Ofsted’s acknowledgement that secondary school’s sex education is often focused on the mechanics of reproduction rather than in the context of healthy relationships. In addition we would like to develop a presentation on maintaining good mental health and healthy coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety, in conjunction with Mind Space Stamford.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, all these plans are dependant on funding and if you have access to any additional expertise/funding in relation to these areas, please do get in touch, we very much appreciate your support. In addition, if you have any school-links that we can utilise then please put us in touch. We are currently sending out a survey to assess schools’ interests and would love to ensure our work is meeting local needs. Our new e-mail address and telephone contact number can be found below.

 We hope all our work will continue to empower the young people we come into contact with to make healthy life-choices that will secure their identities and help them to appreciate their true worth. Thank you once again for your support, please continue to pray for schools to be receptive to our contact.

Gemma Holbird and Sarah Jane Sauntson (Education Managers)


Mobile: 07413 397980


Read a Q&A with Sarah Jane Sauntson and Gemma Holbird

1. What are your backgrounds and how do you think this will help you both in your new roles?

SJ – I have a background in teaching children and young people with special educational needs.  As such, I think my strengths are in creating and delivering exciting lessons and presentations to suit a variety of learning styles.  I also have experience working as an advisor for Alternatives Stamford and have completed training in many areas of sexual health.  As an ex-soldier, I’m pretty organised too which comes in handy when managing a team of volunteers and a very busy diary!

Gemma – I am a Secondary English Teacher and I have taught drama and PSHE, I also have experience using theatre in education. I have always had a pastoral heart within my work and have had managerial experience as Head of Year. I love engaging young people in learning and finding creative ways to do this; I hope to continue to bring this to the role. Obviously being familiar with how schools operate is an asset and I hope this allows me to engage successfully with staff and students.

2. What would you both like to achieve whilst you are the Education Managers?

SJ – I think we want to continue providing excellent sex and relationships education in schools in Stamford and the surrounding area.

Gemma – Absolutely, and expanding our reach. In the long term we are very keen to develop our work in secondary schools in order to engage with more young people.

3. What challenges do you think you’ll face working for a charity, and how do you think it will differ from your previous roles?

SJ and Gemma – Not knowing whether we will have funding for the education team from one academic year to the next is a challenge but it doesn’t stop us getting excited about the potential and opportunities for growth in the future.

4. Why do you both think age appropriate sex and relationships education is so important?

SJ – This quote from an article I read a couple of years ago answers this question perfectly… Children do not live in a bubble. In a society where sexualised imagery is everywhere, it is crucial that children learn the facts in an appropriate way so that they can navigate the pressures, fashions and dangers of a highly sexualised culture safely.  Not all children are given the facts and information they need at home — sometimes because of parental indifference, embarrassment, or both. Instead, thousands of curious kids get their understanding of sex from the playground rumour mill, television, advertising and — most perilously — from the internet.

Gemma – I think it is of paramount importance to introduce young people to the subject of sex and relationships in a positive context before they are bombarded by potentially negative issues sometimes even before they hit the teenage years. It allows them to deal with the subject matter in a sensible, open and honest forum that demystifies and makes clear the proper context for sexual relationships. It also helps to give young people security and confidence in their own identity.

5. What do you both like to do in your free time?

SJ – Spend time with my husband and two daughters, read, exercise and bake cakes!

Gemma – We are also busy parents with three children which of course takes much of our focus and energy! I enjoy lots of creative activities and music is a big part of our family life. I’m an avid musical theatre lover. I also enjoy contributing to the work of St George’s church.


New SRE training course with FPA and City College Peterborough

FPA logo

Alternatives ASET are launching a new training course in conjunction with City College Peterborough.

We will be recruiting new volunteers and presenters to the centre and are offering training in FPA’s ‘Delivering Sex Education in the Classrooms’ course as well as Lincolnshire C-card training and Safeguarding training with NSPCC. We have been awarded incredibly generous funding from City College Peterborough in order to run these new courses.

Once all of our candidates are trained they will be part of the ASET relaunch for academic year 2016/17 and will assist ASET in spreading Sex and Relationship Education across our local community. They will be ready to take on lots of projects across the schools and colleges and age groups ranging from Year 5 to Higher Education.

We are extremely proud to be able to deliver quality presenters in this field.

If you would be interested in joining our new and exciting team please contact Laura on 01780 765853 or email

There are 8 course dates spread throughout April-September and we will cover any travel costs. All presentations are during school hours and term time. We are looking for volunteers who have time to offer and a passion for sex and relationship education in the classroom.



Alternatives talks to more than 100 students about sexual health

Sexual Health Week

Educating local teenagers about sexual health is an important part of Alternatives Stamford work, and we have built up a strong relationship with New College Stamford, helping to spread the word about our support services for young people around contraception and unintended pregnancy. (more…)


Excellent feedback on first few Y6 presentations in local schools

ASET foetus

The Alternatives Education team has had excellent feedback from children and teachers for its first few Y6 presentations on Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Protective Behaviours (PB) to four local schools.

Nine schools in total have signed up for the programme, and five more will be visited before the end of the academic year.



Nine schools sign up for new ASET Year 6 programme

Alternatives Education Y6 Pupil Pack

ASET is the Alternatives Stamford Education Team – and our mission is to provide carefully designed, age-relevant sex and relationships education to students at local schools and colleges.

We’ve launched two new programmes as well as continuing with ongoing relationships…



Talking to teenagers about porn: fantasy vs reality

Pornography - fantasy vs reality


Today’s teenagers are truly the “porn generation”, with easier access to online pornography than ever.  And porn creates huge pressures on young women and young men – raising unrealistic expectations of appearance and performance, ignoring contraception, fuelling low self-esteem and creating an insidious pressure to experiment sexually.  According to recent research by Bristol University almost half of teenage girls are coerced into sex acts. Click here to read the full article published in The Times.

The education team at Alternatives – Alison and Angeline – have been working closely with the 16-18 year old students at New College Stamford over the last couple of years, and have developed an interactive presentation that explores the reality behind the fantasy of the porn industry.  Before Christmas they ran short 40 minute sessions for over 300 students, split into tutor groups of 20-30.  As word spread about the content, more students joined the sessions, and next month they are back to run five more days of small group presentations.

I caught up with Alison and Angeline to learn more about how they ran these sessions and how it affected the students who took part.



A fresh approach to teaching sex and relationships education in Rutland and Stamford

Mandy Rogers, trustee of Alternatives and former Head teacher

Mandy Rogers, trustee of Alternatives and former Head teacher

Mandy Rogers is a former head teacher and trustee of Alternatives. Her time at Ketton C of E Primary School kindled a fiery passion for providing children with knowledge and skills to encourage self-confidence and the ability to recognise their own rights and responsibilities. I caught up with her on a wintery afternoon in Stamford just after she had spent the morning with the education team at Alternatives.



Interview with Helen Walton, founder & chair of trustees at Alternatives

Helen Walton

Helen Walton founded Alternatives over five years ago and is now chair of trustees.

Here she shares what inspired her to start Alternatives, what it stands for, how it has developed, and her aims for the future.



Q&A with Emma James-German, Acting Centre Director, Alternatives Stamford

Emma James German

Emma James-German took over as Centre Director of Alternatives Stamford in July 2014. We asked about what brought her to Alternatives and what she would like to achieve.


Keep up to date with all the latest news from Alternatives