Perth and Kinross council in collaboration with the Social Research Unit in Dartington conducted a survey at local schools in 2013. There has been much controversy about the nature of the intimate questions that schoolchildren were expected to answer and the fact that parents were not informed in advance about the questions. Neither were parents expected to actively give their consent. Failure to respond to the letter from the council was deemed to be sufficient.
Highland Perthshire News has summarised articles covering the topic which appeared in the Scottish Review.
The questions asked implied a very negative view of how schoolchildren were living their lives. Some examples: Did they feel their life worthwhile? (9 year olds) Did they carry a knife to school? When was the last time they had anal sex? (14 year olds)
Responding to criticisms, Tim Hobbs, principal investigator at the Social Research Unit asserted that children themselves were considered to be the primary focus of informed consent. The Scottish Review article points out that because children are a vulnerable group parents have a responsibility to protect them and should have been given the opportunity to do so.
The Scottish Review articles can be found here:
Following Tim Hobbs rebuttal there have been a number of comments in this year`s Scottish Review.