NORTH Ayrshire Council (NAC) made the “correct decision” to send out a controversial school ‘sex survey’ to pupils, according to the authority’s head of education.

Dalry and West Kilbride councillor Todd Ferguson raised the issue after he and his Conservative colleagues asked in December for the widely-debated census to be withdrawn.

Concerns had been aired over the “inappropriate nature” of some of the questions contained within the survey, with topics for some of the older school pupils focusing on sexual relationships, contraception and drugs.

NAC was one of only eight Scottish local authorities to commit to releasing the questionnaire, with 10 councils refusing to take part.

Cllr Ferguson questioned whether education bosses thought the decision to send out the survey unaltered was still the right one.

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And at a virtual meeting last month Councillor John Bell, NAC’s cabinet member for education, defended the decision.

Cllr Bell said: “In my opinion councillors made the correct decision in agreeing to go forward with the health and wellbeing census.

"The ability for parents/carers to ask that their child can opt out and for the young person to not answer individual questions if they are not comfortable will be made clear in guidance.

"The process of data collection and security has been approved and a presentation on the census was given at a recent parent councils chairs meeting where no concerns were raised.

"The survey will provide information on a wide range of topics which will help guide the provision of services and support for young people going forward."

Cllr Bell also gave an assurance that the data would be held in a secure location and could not be accessed by anyone without proper authentication.

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