A row has broken out between parents and a multi-denominational primary school in Dublin over the school's decision to bring in the Catholic marriage agency ACCORD to deliver sex education to Fifth and Sixth Class children.

A number of parents at Castleknock Educate Together kept their children at home from school yesterday because they did not wish them to take part in the day-long course.

Parent Susan Broe told RTÉ News that her daughter was one of eight children in her Fifth Class who stayed at home from school yesterday as a result. "I'm shocked and annoyed", she said. "It's completely against the ethos of Educate Together".

A number of parents said that the school told pupils who were not going to attend the talk that they should stay at home from school on the day.

Tony McCrossan, who also has a daughter in Fifth Class in the school, said: "we got a consent form in the schoolbag and I saw it was from ACCORD. I was shocked to find out on Tuesday that she would be forced to take a day off."

Mr McCrossan said the family had sent their children to a multi-denominational school "to get away from this kind of thing". 

One parent who chose to send her child into school to attend the course told RTÉ News that she "wasn't overjoyed".

This mother, who did not wish to be identified, said: "I think it's odd. I think it's a complete contradiction to have ACCORD in. But the school did say that there was no mention of religion". 

Castleknock Educate Together school has not responded to a query from RTÉ News.

The school's patron Educate Together has said it wanted to stress that the contracting of external agencies by a school was a matter for the school board of management.

It said, however, that it expected all of its schools to deliver the full Relationships and Sexuality curriculum without reference to any religious-based biases.

It said it did not have the authority to require schools to deliver the RSE programme in a specific way.

It said if parents had a complaint this could only be dealt with by the school's board of management. 

The Department of Education is currently undertaking what it has called a major review of the Relationships and Sexuality curriculum at both primary and second level.

The review comes on foot of a recommendation from the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

The Department of Education review covers not just the content of the curriculum but also how it is delivered, and the role played by "external providers". 

Announcing the review last April, Minister for Education Richard Bruton said there also needed to be more effective communication between schools and parents regarding the teaching of RSE in schools.