Controversial school pupil sex and lifestyle survey results released

The health and well-being survey has faced criticism for asking young people explicit questions.

Controversial Glasgow school pupip sex and lifestyle survey results released iStock

The results of a controversial school survey which asked Glasgow pupils questions on sex, lifestyle and mental health have been released.

The survey results revealed that a small number of the city’s pupils had engaged in sexual intercourse from as young as 13, while it also raised issues with bullying and depression among Glasgow youngsters.

When asked about relationships, 10% of S4 to S6 pupils said they had had sexual intercourse – 15% of those said they were 13 or under when they first had intercourse, 20% were 14 while 27% were 15.

It is unlawful for children under 16 to have sex.

The health and well-being survey has faced criticism for asking young people explicit questions including if they have had oral sex.

It found that nearly 40% of high school pupils in the city were spending seven or more hours a day on tablets or smartphones during weekends in their free time.

The survey found 70% of P5 and P7 children were on devices for three hours or more daily at the weekend.

More than one in four (27%) of P7 to S6 pupils said they sometimes went to bed or to school hungry while 59% never did.

Of P5 to S3 pupils, 30% had been bullied in the last year – with 80% of it taking place at school.

A Glasgow City Council report on the health and wellbeing census said: “The surveys have given us valuable information from children and young people and the results will be used to understand the health and well-being needs of children at both a local and national level. This will help to improve the way children’s services are planned and delivered.”

The health and wellbeing census is due to be presented to councillors sitting on the education, skills and early years city policy committee this week.

The census said: “The health and wellbeing census 2021 to 2022 was made available to pupils in P5 to S6 if their parent or carer gave permission. The surveys were conducted online, using the Smart Survey online data collection platform, during class contact time.

It added: “There were different age appropriate questionnaires for each pupil stage. The survey questions focussed on the child or young person’s self-reporting of their health and wellbeing across a range of topics and themes.”

The survey received responses from 51% of pupils – an equivalent of 23,323 out of a potential 45,522 P5 to S6 pupils.

The survey also asked kids about taking drugs, vaping, smoking and alcohol use but as the responses were very low, it said the figures should be treated with caution.

Other pupil responses to the health and wellbeing census 2021 to 2022 in Glasgow:

  • 66% of P7-S4 pupils said they want to continue with full-time education on leaving school
  • Half of P5 to S6 pupils say they eat meals with their family every day while 6% never have meals together
  • 31% of P5 to S6 pupils usually do physical activity every day outside school hours
  • 30% of S1 to S6 pupils reported sitting for seven hours or more during weekends and 13% said they sit for seven hours or more on weekdays outside school hours
  • Around one in four pupils (26%) rated their general health as excellent, 48% good, 19% fair and 3% poor
  • 54% of S2 to S6 pupils  agreed or strongly agreed that they would be OK even if they were having a difficult time
  • Three in ten pupils had a well-being measure score indicating probable depression