Publication - Factsheet

Health and Wellbeing Census

Published: 19 Feb 2020

Information on the upcoming Health and Wellbeing Census taking place during the 2019-20 academic year.

19 Feb 2020
Health and Wellbeing Census

We want all children and young people to be confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens.  Learning in health and wellbeing, through Curriculum for Excellence, ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future. 

Health and wellbeing isn't a single subject or class, but under Curriculum for Excellence, is organised into six areas:

  • mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing
  • planning for choices and changes
  • physical education, physical activity and sport
  • food and health
  • substance misuse
  • relationships, sexual health and parenthood

The Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 states that Local Authorities (LAs) have a power to do anything which it considers is likely to promote or improve the well-being of its area and/or  persons within that area. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 also states that a local authority and the relevant health board must, in respect of each 3 year period, prepare a children’s services plan for the area of the local authority.  The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000 also states that education authorities must endeavour to ensure that their schools are health promoting.  Therefore we have been working with all 32 local authorities across Scotland to introduce a new Health and Wellbeing Census (HWB) starting in the 2019 to 2020 academic year. This local level evidence will help LAs to identify and drive forward local improvements and monitor the results of any changes made.  

The National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 states that it is the duty of Scottish Ministers to promote the improvement of the physical and mental health of the people of Scotland.  The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000 also states that Scottish Ministers must endeavour to ensure that education authority and grant-aided schools are health promoting.

Therefore, the gathering and sharing of this data with the Scottish Government (SG) will:

  • assist the SG with having statistical and research data as part of their public task in planning for and implementing national policies
  • develop better understanding on some of the factors which influence pupil attainment and achievement
  • help target resources better
  • 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. 

Early Adopters

Five local authorities have agreed to participate as an early adopter in the 2019 to 2020 academic year:

  • Clackmannanshire
  • Dundee
  • Na h-Eileanan Siar
  • Shetland
  • West Lothian

They will each individually collect data from children in P7, S2 and S4 only. Parents/carers can opt out from their child taking part, and the child themselves can opt themselves out.

Where can I get more information, or who can I contact to further discuss the census?

For further information, please read the Q&A provided below or communicate with Gary Sutton, Head of Information Management, Improvement and Evidence Unit on 0131 244 0945 or by e-mail