If I Were Jack - Phase 2

If I were Jack - Phase II


(i) Feasibility-Testing the Educational Resource

 A two-year project that commenced in May 2014. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Public Health Research Programme and the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, it was a cluster randomised feasibility trial with embedded process and economic evaluations to determine; recruitment, participation and retention rates; quality of implementation; acceptability and feasibility of the intervention and trial procedures; and cost. The study also piloted the feasibility and acceptability of collecting demographic information and other sexual-psychosocial data (via a questionnaire) relating to measuring the proposed primary and secondary outcomes in a future larger phase III trial. The trial was entitled ‘Increasing boys’ and girls’ intention to avoid teenage pregnancy: feasibility trial of an interactive video drama (IVD) based intervention in post-primary schools in Northern Ireland’.

‌Year 11 pupils (male and female, aged 14-16), Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) teachers and parents in eight post-primary schools in Northern Ireland participated (recruited between June and October 2014), with four schools (519 eligible pupils, 16 participating teachers) randomly assigned to the intervention group receiving the 4-week If I Were Jack RSE intervention, and four schools (508 eligible pupils, 24 participating teachers) randomly assigned to the control group continuing with normal RSE practice. Recruitment of 831 pupils to the study at baseline represents an overall pupil recruitment rate of 80.9 percent. 

The feasibility trial findings indicated that the content, components and implementation process for the intervention are acceptable and feasible. The Public Health Agency NI Research and Development Office has also provided funding for the development of parents' animations. 

To download an article from the Every Child Journal which highlights the importance of including young men in relationship and sexuality education please click on this link: Every Child Article‌.

(ii) Transferability Study for the If I Were Jack Resource

Once the value of the intervention was established by the Northern Ireland trial (Phase II), the team needed to know if it would work elsewhere in the UK-wide trial. Would other pupils and teachers find the resource useful? Could pupils in London, Wales or Scotland understand and relate to Jack and Emma as they appeared in the NI film? Where there changes they would like to see to the classroom materials and film itself?

To answer these questions, a transferability and suitability study was planned for 2015.


Firstly, the resource needed to be tested in schools in other parts of the UK – Scotland, England and Wales – with both pupils and teachers
Second, suggestions for adapting the resource would have to be looked at, especially if young people in the rest of the UK preferred a film with different accents, language or actors
Lastly, there were wider questions about using the resource in Roman Catholic schools and gaining permission from local authorities in each of the new nations

How the study was organised:

The team asked partners in Wales, England and Scotland to take the resource into three schools each and see what the staff and pupils thought of If I were Jack. We made sure that pupils from different ethnic backgrounds and different faiths got to see the film and give their feedback. 
Once the pupils and teachers used the resource, we conducted interviews with individuals and groups to noted down their impressions and anything they would like to see changed.


The transferability study findings indicated that in all three UK sites, pupils and school staff welcomed the resource.

Pupils and teachers enjoyed several aspects of Jack in the classroom:

      • They liked the uniqueness of it being targeted at young men
      • They appreciated the opportunity it provided to speak about emotions, relationships and sexuality and not just 'biological' aspects of RSE
      • They also liked that the story was told from a young person's perspective

Pupils and teachers also had some suggestions for improvement: 

      • The accents proved difficult to understand, especially in Wales
      • All sites suggested updating the look and feel of the technology used in the film
      • The London school felt that the ethnic diversity was poor, but they did not want to see any tokenism either
      • Teachers and pupils in all sites also wanted to learning outcomes to fit better with the rest of the RSE curriculum


We got lots of feedback from pupils and staff, here is just some of what was said:

“I feel like it really would get people to think about their future because I think too many people nowadays don’t really think that much and I think this video really gets people to think before they do anything they would regret in the future” (Male pupil)

“It made me think about if I was pregnant how I would tell my mum, my friends, my partner, and it made me think about what other people would think of me and what type of name I’d give myself” (Female pupil)

There are some videos in schools which show you the same thing; contraception, teenage pregnancy, but there’s nothing that puts you in their shoes, into their situation, that’s why I think it’s good to have the questions at the end – it really makes you think about how you would feel if you ended up in the same situation as them” (Female pupil)

“We are targeting that age group because it’s about preparation for events in’t it? It’s about giving them that forewarning, that scenario, given that the age of first sex is 17 you’ve got to try to get to them before that so that they have that kind of information.” (SRE specialist, male)