PARENTS have raised concerns that content "verging on pornography" is being taught to children as young as eight in North Ayrshire.

It comes after an information evening was held at a local primary school to tell parents about sexual education content which will be taught to pupils across the area.

The teaching form part of the Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) unit of education in primary schools, which schools across the country are required to teach as part of the Curriculum for Excellence developed by the Education Scotland.

Concerns over the content were raised by parents following the information session, at which slides showed parents and guardians what the education will involve.

The slides, which have been shared with Ayrshire Weekly Press, discussed topics including consent, sex and orgasms.

The consent element features in the text accompanying most of the slides.

But the content was branded as "needless" by a number of parents who raised particular concerns about the age at which children would be taught

One parent said: "A local primary school has put out the ideas to teach kids between eight and 12 sexual education. I personally feel no eight-year-old needs to know this."

Similar concerns were raised by a number of other parents who stated that the content "is informative" but said "it's a bit much for school kids".

Another added: "By all means they can cover consent, but that content should be no earlier than primary seven, as children develop at different ages.

"While some might be mature at eight, others might not be until 11.

"Some of the terms and pictures are a bit graphic for eight-year-olds - verging on pornography."

Others raised more serious concerns about what the content might lead to.

A parent told us: "There's no need for that at that age at all. It's deliberately sexualising children, some of whom might be vulnerable and impressionable.

"I know it says 'adults' but you are putting sex into the minds of children, and of course they'll be curious. I don't agree with it."

Another said: "That's not appropriate for children of that age. They should be thinking about being children, playing with friends, not sex.

"That age range don't have a natural desire for sex. It's over-sexualising children."

And one parent raised serious concerns that "it could potentially cause a child to be sexually assaulted".

North Ayrshire Council have since explained that the content is to be taught as part of the curriculum - though parents can withdraw their children from the lessons.

A national consultation on RSHP was also held recently, though the results have yet to be made public.

A spokesperson explained:  “All schools have a requirement to deliver Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education as a key strand of Health and Wellbeing (HWB) within Curriculum for Excellence.

“The national guidance and teaching resource were launched in 2019 and have been used in schools across Scotland in the period since.

“Results of a recent national consultation have not yet been published so our guidance regarding the delivery of the RSHP curriculum remains unchanged.

“If any parent/carer wishes their child to be withdrawn from RSHP lessons then suitable alternative provision will be provided.”

A spokesperson for Education Scotland commented: “Ultimately, it is for schools to decide how they deliver on all aspects of health and wellbeing based on the needs of the children or young people in their classroom, and also the resources they use to do so.

"The RSHP resource was developed by a partnership of local authorities and health boards, with advice from Education Scotland and the Scottish Government, to provide teachers with factual resources and information to support pupils as part of health and wellbeing in the school curriculum in Scotland.

“We ask teachers to work closely with parents in the delivery of RSHP education, by discussing proposed lessons and resources with them in advance.”