Fury as pupils as young as 7 asked if they are transgender in Scottish schools under SNP plans branded 'indoctrination'

20 January 2023, 07:58

Children as young as seven are taking the survey
Children as young as seven are taking the survey. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Children as young as 7 are being asked if they "identify as" non-binary or transgender in a Scottish school survey about their wellbeing.

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The survey, held by SNP and Lib Dem-run Aberdeen Council, has been branded "disturbing" and described as "indoctrination" by opponents.

Pupils who take part in the survey, for P5 and P6 children, are not required to have a parent or responsible adult present.

It comes after Green Party MSP told LBC she thinks the government should be "exploring options" to let children as young as eight should be allowed to change gender.

Rishi Sunak has moved to block a bill voted through in the Scottish government that would lower the minimum age that people in Scotland can legally change their gender from 18 to 16.

Nicola Sturgeon's plans have been blocked by Rishi Sunak
Nicola Sturgeon's plans have been blocked by Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty

The Aberdeen Council survey asks children several questions about their general health and wellbeing, including physical activity and sleep patterns.

It builds on guidance by the Scottish government that schools should run surveys among their students to find out more about their welfare.

But objecting to the Aberdeen Council survey, some parents said that children of that age do not know if they want "chicken nuggets or fish fingers for dinner", so they would be unlikely to know about gender identification.

Douglas Lumsden, a Tory MSP for north-east Scotland and former co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: "It is disgraceful that the council are forcing children as young as seven to answer questions about their gender.

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"We have heard from Maggie Chapman just this week that she would like children as young as eight to be able to change gender.

"These snooping questions from the council seem to be following the same agenda."

Jo Bisset, organiser for the Us For Them cotland parents' group, said: "What we are seeing is a huge growth in gender dysphoria among young people. It can look like it is being encouraged and I think the fact that schools transition children without their parents' knowledge is something our members find very disturbing.

"Outside of incredibly exceptional circumstances, parents are the right people to speak to children about these things. This idea that virtual strangers should be enabling transition is very worrying.

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"It could easily be the case that parents have no idea about any of these issues and it is hidden from them.

"A seven to nine-year-old child doesn't know if they want chicken nuggets or fish fingers for dinner, and that is how it should be. They shouldn't be worrying about this sort of thing.

"It is indoctrination by adults looking to pursue their own ideology and impress it on children."

Read more: Caller urges people to focus on how Gender Recognition Bill 'benefits young trans people'

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A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council said: 'All children in P5-S6 were given the opportunity to participate in a physical wellbeing survey. Like all other surveys, young people have the option to opt out of this process before or during the activity.

"All questions were very carefully considered and through thorough review were deemed appropriate. These questions [have] been developed by a team of education support officers and reviewed by pupils, staff and parents prior to use last year. The questions within the survey are linked carefully to the health and wellbeing curriculum that is covered from P4 (2nd Level).

"The survey itself has very few identifiers, however it does include age and gender to help us identify appropriate supports. It has been recognised that through work in our schools a large number of young people identify as transgender or non-binary as well as male and female and we wanted to ensure that we provided an opportunity for them to respond openly."

A Government spokesman said: "This is the council's own survey which it decided to undertake to inform local policy. The Scottish Government had no involvement in this survey as it is unrelated to the health and wellbeing census."