Pupils at Renfrewshire School Release Controversial Study

STUDENTS in Renfrewshire schools are asked to answer controversial survey that asks them about their sexual experiences.

A row has arisen over the Scottish Government’s Youth Health and Welfare Census over fears it is too sexually explicit.

Opinions are sought on a range of topics, from physical and mental health to bullying and the pressures of schoolwork.

However, the decision to interview children as young as 14 years old about their sexual relationships and issues such as contraception has come under criticism.

As a number of Scottish councils, including neighboring East Renfrewshire, consider amending the survey before it is published in schools, The Gazette has learned that Renfrewshire education heads have told it given the green light.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “Children and young people will have the opportunity to respond to, or opt out of, the survey by March 2022.”

Children from P5 to S6 across Scotland are invited to take part in the Health and Wellbeing Census, but only final year pupils from S4 are asked about issues such as drugs and sexual relations.

A question intended for people from S4 to S6 asks the following question: “People have varying degrees of sexual experience. How much, if any, sexual experience have you had? ”

Boards have the option of adding or removing survey questions if they wish.
However, the Renfrewshire Council decided not to make any changes, in order to support national data collection.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘The census is administered by local government to provide information on the health and well-being of children and young people, to help improve the support they provide.

“While the Scottish Government has worked with stakeholders to design a set of questionnaires, it is up to local authorities to determine what questions they actually ask.

“The data collected will also allow the Scottish Government to better understand some of the factors that influence educational outcomes.

“Parents and guardians can opt out of their child’s participation and the child himself can choose to opt out. ”

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