Health and Wellbeing Census

All local authorities across Scotland are asking schools to make a Health and Wellbeing Census available to P5-S6 pupils in 2021-22.

Children and young people are being asked to complete an online questionnaire during class time that will take around 20-40 minutes. Schools will organise and arrange for children and young people to take part.

Children and young people will be asked questions that cover a wide range of topics, such as, their:

  • attitude to school
  • perception of achievement
  • perception on the pressure of schoolwork
  • physical activity/exercise
  • eating behaviours
  • general health
  • general wellbeing (life satisfaction)
  • mental wellbeing (S2 pupils upwards)
  • physical or mental health condition
  • sleep pattern
  • feeling of discrimination
  • relationship with peers
  • self-perception (body image)
  • social media and online experience
  • relationships with family/environment
  • relationships with parents/carers
  • resilience
  • involvement in decision making
  • involvement in positive activities
  • caring responsibilities
  • experience of bullying
  • aspirations and career planning
  • involvement in positive activities
  • sedentary behaviour
  • perception on places to play
  • use of alcohol (S2 pupils upwards)
  • use of tobacco (S2 pupils upwards)
  • use of drugs (S4 pupils upwards)

At the beginning and end of the questionnaire, children and young people will be informed that if any of the questions have made them think of any problems, or have raised any issues they are having, then they can speak to someone about the information they have provided.

Taking part

Parents, carers and children and young people will decide whether they should take part. Children and young people can be opted-out by parents/carers by completing the survey link within the letter they receive or notifying their child’s school.  A child or young person can also:

  • opt-out before the survey starts
  • skip any questions they don’t want to answer
  • stop taking part at any time.

Not taking part will have no impact on a child or young person’s schooling or any services they use.

Letters are being sent to parents and carers. These will include details of how they can opt-out before the survey begins.

We hope that all children and young people offered the survey take part so that we have a full picture of how local services for children can be strengthened. This will enable children and young people to have their say, which will influence how local services for children and families should be delivered in the future.

This census will help schools and other services make better joint decisions about how to improve services for children, young people and their families.

Local authorities need this information about children and young people to:

  • plan and deliver better policies for the benefit of all children and families, or specific groups
  • better understand some of the factors which influence the outcomes for children
  • target resources better
  • enhance the quality of research to improve the lives of people in Scotland
  • provide a window on society, the economy and on the work and performance of local and central government.


A child or young person’s confidentiality is most important, and the census has been designed to ensure confidentiality is protected. Any results produced will never allow a child or young person to be identified.

Information that would enable a child to be identified is held separately from a child’s responses in the census. The census does not ask for the child to provide their name. Only if a significant child wellbeing concern is identified during the analysis of the children’s responses would a child’s actual identity be sought, as this would be necessary in the best interest of the child or young person. The local authority would follow a set of standard procedures if this were to happen.


Local authorities managing the census will be encouraged to use and make available their aggregated results as part of their own evidence in identifying where action is needed to improve the health and wellbeing of their children and young people within their authority. That will also help them to start monitoring changes over time.

The Scottish Government will publish national results as part of their public task to provide a window on society, the economy and on the work and performance of government by publishing statistical publications and additional tables about the health and wellbeing of children and young people living in Scotland.  As with any Scottish Government statistical publications, only aggregated level data will be published, and no individual child or young person will be identifiable from the analysis.

More information

For further information, please contact your school or email

Find out more about the census on the Scottish Government website.