Impact of a theoretically based sex education programme (SHARE) delivered by teachers on NHS registered conceptions and terminations: final results of cluster randomised trial

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 18 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:133
  1. M Henderson, research scientist1,
  2. D Wight, programme leader1,
  3. G M Raab, professor2,
  4. C Abraham, professor3,
  5. A Parkes, research associate1,
  6. S Scott, professor4,
  7. G Hart, director5
  1. 1Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow G12 8RZ
  2. 2School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Care, Napier University, Edinburgh EH4 2LD
  3. 3School of Social Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9SN
  4. 4Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Keele, Keele ST5 5BG
  5. 5Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, University College London, London WC1E 6AU
  1. Correspondence to: M Henderson marion{at}
  • Accepted 6 October 2006


Objective To assess the impact of a theoretically based sex education programme (SHARE) delivered by teachers compared with conventional education in terms of conceptions and terminations registered by the NHS.

Design Follow-up of cluster randomised trial 4.5 years after intervention.

Setting NHS records of women who had attended 25 secondary schools in east Scotland.

Participants 4196 women (99.5% of those eligible).

Intervention SHARE programme (intervention group) v existing sex education (control group).

Main outcome measure NHS recorded conceptions and terminations for the achieved sample linked at age 20.

Results In an “intention to treat” analysis there were no significant differences between the groups in registered conceptions per 1000 pupils (300 SHARE v 274 control; difference 26, 95% confidence interval −33 to 86) and terminations per 1000 pupils (127 v 112; difference 15, −13 to 42) between ages 16 and 20.

Conclusions This specially designed sex education programme did not reduce conceptions or terminations by age 20 compared with conventional provision. The lack of effect was not due to quality of delivery. Enhancing teacher led school sex education beyond conventional provision in eastern Scotland is unlikely to reduce terminations in teenagers.

Trial registration ISRCTN48719575.


  • Further details on the final outcomes of the SHARE programme can be found

  • We thank the young people and teachers involved for their cooperation and support, without which the study would not have been possible; Rod Muir, Alan Finlayson, and David Clark of the information and statistics division of NHS Scotland for providing data and support; Douglas Kirby for advice; our advisory committee and colleagues in the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and Applied Statistics Group, Napier University, for advice and encouragement; and Sally Macintyre for helping with the study design and support.

  • Contributors: DW (principal investigator) and SS originated the study. DW, GMR, SS, CA, and GH designed the original study, while MH, GMR and DW collaborated with the NHS Scotland to access the data, which was analysed by GMR and MH and commented on by DW, CA, and AP. MH, GMR, and DW drafted the paper and MH revised subsequent drafts based on coauthors' comments. GMR, CA, AP, GH, DW, and SS commented on subsequent drafts of the paper and agreed on the final version. MH, GMR, and DW are guarantors.

  • Funding: UK Medical Research Council and the Health Education Board for Scotland.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Ethical approval: Glasgow University's ethical committee for non-clinical research involving human subjects. NHS Scotland's privacy advisory committee.

  • Accepted 6 October 2006
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