However, the SNP continues to push for a survey asking schoolchildren “intrusive” questions such as whether they have ever had underage sex. Even though an MP admitted it was’regrettable that three quarters of local councils were boycotting it.
A backlash has been caused by the Health and Wellbeing Census of Scotland, which asked pupils as young as 14 questions about their sexual activity. This included whether they’ve had oral or anal sex.
Out of 32 Scottish authorities, 10 have refused participation, Falkirk and West Dunbartonshire being the only two that have not been represented by the Scottish National Party. 11 other local authorities indicated that they are reviewing it.
Hannah Bardell, SNP MP, acknowledged that there was a risk that the Government might only have a partial picture of child behavior. However she insisted that no census would be taken and stated: “These were questions I was asking.”
After SNP ministers permitted participants to identify themselves as either male or female, Fair Play for Women won the legal right to challenge the plans to allow people to choose their gender during the census.
Ms Bardell was the SNP’s consular Affairs spokesperson and an ex-spokesman for digital and culture.
However, she said: “No. The First Minister, Nicole Sturgeon, has made it clear that you can’t just stick your head in sand. If young people do not want to answer the questions, they aren’t required to. It is unfortunate that this has been done by a few councils. These questions were the ones I received as a teenager at school.
Hannah Bardell from the Scottish National Party (pictured), admitted that it was possible for the government to only see a small amount of information about child behaviour. She insists the census won’t be done and says: These were the questions I was asked.
Intimate questions about sexual activity are asked by the Health and Wellbeing Census of Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s Health and Wellbeing Census contains more questions, leading to a lot of backlash
Ten of 32 Scottish local authorities have declined to participate in the survey, including Scottish National Party-led Councils.
This survey will ask pupils to answer intimate questions about their sexual activities and whether or not they have used condoms.
Last question: This section asks students how easy it is for them to say “no” to sexual experiences they don’t desire.
“You know what, I never faced anything similar to the online dangers and pornography that young people are now facing. What can be done to make policy that is effective and what can young people do to help them learn the importance of relationships.
“The epidemic levels of misogyny and violence against women are a result of poor relationships education and sex.
“I remember what mine looked like before devolution. It was horrible. We have a moral and legal duty to our young people to ensure that they get it right.” We can only do this if we have all the data we need.
Miriam Cates was a former teacher and Conservative MP for Penistone, Stocksbridge. She said that she has’serious worries’ about the census.
She said, “I believe to be asking children intimate questions from a place of authority, and suggesting to them that these should be answered honestly, and you know what, even to strangers potentielly, even though it’s through a form, and they’re identifiable, raises serious red flags.”
Ten of the 32 Scottish local authorities have declined to participate, while 11 others are likely to examine the content.
Only eight cities have pledged to send the survey – which includes Glasgow City and Perth and Kinross as well as South Ayrshire, Stirling and Angus.
City of Edinburgh Council has censored the Census form to exclude questions “that we thought would be difficult”.
The quiz is being boycotted by Midlothian and East Lothian as well as Aberdeenshire and North Lanarkshire.
East Ayrshire and East Dunbartonshire are the 11 councils that have requested a content review.
SNP led five of the eight surveys that will be published – they are: Stirling (Glasgow), South Ayrshire; Clackmannanshire; and Dundee.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insists the census will be confidential. She ‘ensures the confidentiality of any research results or resulting stats’.
One question in the survey, which was aimed at S4/S6 pupils, asks: “People have different levels of sexual experience.” Which sexual experiences have you had, if any?
You have multiple options for answering the question: ‘oral’ or ‘vaginal/anal’.
The questionnaire also inquires about the number of people with whom they had sexual interactions in the last 12 months.
Parents cannot see the complete details of the census. However, children aged P5, 6 and 7 will be provided with the results. The younger age groups are asked questions about sleep patterns, physical activity and mental health.
Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissar for Children and Young People’s Rights Commissioner has called on ministers not to stop the survey because of concerns regarding privacy and the availability of informed consent.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted that the census was confidential. This means that the results and resulting statistics of any research will not be released in a way which identifies individuals children or young people.
Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating concerns that census data isn’t strictly confidential.
After a review, Argyll & Bute and West Dunbartonshire Councils said that they won’t be participating in the survey. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, East Renfrewshire, however, stated that major changes will be required.
After being concerned about the type of questions being asked, Argyll & Yete Council decided not to participate.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, after a thorough review, has stated that it won’t be distributing any questions relating sexual experience to pupils in the Western Isles.
A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council said that they are currently finalizing a questionnaire version to be released in the next months.
“Changes have been made to sexual health to protect anonymity. The section will be seperated from the main section in order to let students choose whether or not to answer this section of the questionnaire.
“We will give the questionnaire to parents/carers prior to any information being sent out to students.”
Renfrewshire and Dumfries and Galloway were previously said to be distributing the survey. However, they have now changed their mind.
Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said that they were following the responses of both the local and national governments to the survey on national health and well-being, which included the opinions and suggestions from the commissioner for children.
“We have decided to suspend the survey temporarily while we examine these opinions and those from our school communities.”
After stating that schools “plan” to give young people an opportunity to participate in the survey, a Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesperson indicated a shift.
However, the spokesperson added that: “To assure parents and youths, we have asked our youth council to think about whether or not they would like to offer us additional guidance on how to best approach this work and identify concerns and tailor our support services to suit their needs.”
Spokesman for the Scottish Government said that “Health and well-being surveys such as these are not new, and they play a critical role in ensuring young people and children have the access to help, advice, and services they need.”
Parents/carers as well as children and teenagers are advised of how data is used before any participation in the census. If they do not wish to be included, they have the option of opting out.
Children and youth can choose to skip questions they do not wish to answer, or to state they would rather not say. Age-appropriate questions are asked at each stage.
For example, children and teens in S2 and higher are asked about smoking and alcohol, while S4 and up are asked about relationships and sexuality.
“We support this voluntary and important census administration.”