Newham’s Shereece joined by X-Factor’s Matt Cardle in sex education campaign

A Newham teenager who is campaigning for young people to be taught about sex by their peers took her message to the House of Commons.

Shereece Marcantonio, 18, was joined by X-Factor’s Matt Cardle when she took her Let’s Talk About Sex campaign to MPs.

During her visit she unveiled the results of a national survey of young peole that found sex education is failing students.

Shereece is a trained peer educator in sexual health and the only one of her older siblings not to have had a baby as a teenager. She is working with the GLA to engage young people in schools in discussions about sex and relationships.

She believes that, as part of a full sexual education, this approach is more likely to appeal to young people and get the messages across more effectively.

Shereece said: “They say young people don’t have a voice, and that bugs me because we are trying to campaign for change and looking for chances to get heard. This Parliamentary launch is my opportunity to get the voices of nearly 1200 young people heard. Please listen – we’ve got important things to say!”

She has also appeared on Channel 4’s Battlefront programme to promote peer-to-peer sex education.

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Matt said: “Having looked at Shereece’s campaign on the Battlefront website, it was great going along with her on the day that she presented all her research to the ministers and being able to show my support.”

Chris Bryant MP hosted a reception at the House of Commons where Shereece unveiled the results of the survey. It showed that half of pupils questioned (49 per cent) felt they had received too little SRE in their schools. A majority (56 per cent) are most likely to learn about sex from their friends rather than a teacher and 82 per cent wanted sex and relationships education to come from a trained young person.

Half (49 per cent) of pupils say they felt awkward asking questions in their SRE lessons taught by teachers, compared to only one in five feeling comfortable. In contrast 67 per cent of pupils were comfortable asking questions to a trained young person and just 8 per cent felt awkward.