Edinburgh primary school pauses controversial survey after parents complain

A primary school has temporarily halted the Scottish Government's health and wellbeing survey after complaints from parents.
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Pupils in P5 and above at Juniper Green Primary had been due to complete the online questionnaire this week.

But it is understood a number of parents voiced concerns about opting out of the survey, who would get to see the answers and how the data would be stored and used.

Juniper Green Primary School has paused the survey.     Picture: Lisa FergusonJuniper Green Primary School has paused the survey.     Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Juniper Green Primary School has paused the survey. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The council said the school had now postponed the survey until next week to offer parents greater clarity.

Schools all over Scotland are asking pupils from P5 to S6 to take part in the Health and Wellbeing Census, completing the 20-40 minute online questionnaire during class time.

Questions cover a wide range of topics, including their attitude to school, physical activity, eating behaviours, sleep pattern, relationship with family, caring responsibilities and experiences of bullying.

There has been major controversy over questions for pupils in S4 and above over relationships and sexual health, but these are not being asked of primary pupils.

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Parents, carers or pupils can decide to opt out of the survey, but some parents have argued it ought to be a case of having to opt in rather than opt out.

Some have also expressed concern about a Frequently Asked Questions sheet which says the information collected can be used "for statistical and research purposes only for the performance of a task carried out for reasons of public interest" and want an explanation of what that means.

And others were worried about a reference to the Scottish Government being able to "share data about your child with other approved organisations and researchers".

Colinton/Fairmilehead Tory councillor Jason Rust said: "There are clearly serious concerns which require to be addressed.

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"This is a sensitive area and clearly young people would be at risk from any data breaches.

"It's vital that survey material is appropriate for reading capability at the relevant age and that statements are accurate to allow children to make an informed choice about participation."

A council spokesman said: "They are still going to do the survey, but they'll do it next week instead of this week.

"That will allow parents and carers more time to have their questions answered."

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