North Lanarkshire Council has reiterated its position on the controversial Health and Wellbeing census issued by the Scottish Government after outcry from residents.

The so called “sex census” survey asks a number of intrusive questions of children and young people which the NLC administration have deemed unacceptable.

The document has been at the centre of controversy for quizzing secondary pupils in S4 and above about their relationships and sexual health, including one question which asks them to list how much sexual experience they have had.

The Lanarkshire Live app is available to download now.

Get all the news from your area – as well as features, entertainment, sport and the latest on Lanarkshire’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic – straight to your fingertips, 24/7.

The free download features the latest breaking news and exclusive stories, and allows you to customise your page to the sections that matter most to you.

Head to the App Store and never miss a beat in Lanarkshire – iOS Android

Worried parents are still contacting councillors expressing their concerns about the survey – despite the council making clear that the survey will not be issued in North Lanarkshire.

Council leader Jim Logue told Lanarkshire Live : “Although the council had already made clear that this census will not be issued to pupils in North Lanarkshire, colleagues are still receiving emails from worried parents and guardians.

“Therefore, I want to make it very clear: not a single child in North Lanarkshire will be required to provide this information to the Scottish Government.

“The SNP seem to have something of a habit of attempting to intrude on family life – we only have to look at their failed attempts to introduce Named Person legislation to see that.

“Instead, perhaps they should be focusing on providing these same families with the public services they deserve by rethinking their catastrophic cuts to councils.”

Eileen Prior, chief executive of Connect, a charity that works to engage parents and carers in children’s learning and school life, said the survey is “not fit for purpose”.

She has written, on behalf of parents, to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, listing “serious concerns” about confidentiality and how the questions are worded.

Pupils are also asked about oral sex to which Ms Prior writes: “Why would policy-makers need to know about oral sex?”

Ms Prior goes on to raise questions about the confidentiality of the information provided by pupils.

Central Scotland list MSP Meghan Gallacher, a Conservative North Lanarkshire councillor herself, is pleased the local authority is refusing to send out the survey.

She said: “NLC have made the right decision not to distribute these surveys.

“Parents across our communities have been rightly worried that these intrusive questions are a clear invasion of their children’s privacy.

“How much longer can the SNP Government refuse to listen to these concerns? North Lanarkshire have simply joined many councils across Scotland in refusing to distribute this survey.

“Even if data was to be collected, teachers say it won’t be useful given pupils understandably feeling uncomfortable about answering the questions in the survey and if their answers weren’t to be kept private.

“Nicola Sturgeon refused to answer me when I challenged her directly if she would answer the questions in this survey. She must start listening to the concerns from parents and teachers and withdraw this survey now.”

During First Minister’s questions last month, Ms Sturgeon said the census was not mandatory for local authorities to use in school amid a wave of criticism about its content.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Health and wellbeing surveys like this one are not new and play a crucial role in ensuring children and young people have access to the help, advice and services they need.

“Parents/carers and children, and young people, are informed of how their data will be used in advance of any taking part in the census and they can decide to opt out if they wish.

“If children and young people do take part, they can skip any question they don’t wish to answer or state that they would prefer not to say.

“Whilst the Scottish Government has worked with stakeholders to design a set of questionnaires, it is for local authorities to determine which questions they ask.

“We fully support administering of this important census, and we will continue to engage with stakeholders on its implementation.”

*Don’t miss the latest headlines from around Lanarkshire. Sign up to our newsletters here.

And did you know Lanarkshire Live is on Facebook? Head on over and give us a like and share!

reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk (Ross Thomson)

www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Read Source