THE demonstration outside Parliament on Monday was not, for once, about Brexit.

Teaching children as young as five about different relationships was the theme this time and protesters were not happy.

Their point was that it will be mandatory; more nanny-state, from 2020.

Health and sex education will also be compulsory, although the latter will only be taught at secondary level.

Parents retain the right to remove their children from classes until they are 15, although they will need to explain their reasons.

After 15, at least one term of sex education will be compulsory.

Clearly, being taught about health and the danger of the internet are not particularly contentious, however parents worry that their children could be prematurely sexualised by some of the material.

The profile of this debate was raised by a petition signed by 106,000 objectors.

They believe the Government is appropriating parents’ rights to bring up their own children and these are not matters for the school curriculum.

Many hold firm religious beliefs and, until now, those in faith schools have not been forced to teach these subjects.

I can see how parents of young children, in particular, may see this imposition as something that does not fit with their own values and traditions.

It’s the mandatory nature of these reforms that grate, although some would argue, I’m sure, that this is the mark of a tolerant society.

Personally, I have always been cautious of compulsion, which can have the opposite effect.

The Department for Education insists there was overwhelming demand for these lessons.

However, as the petition’s shown, that demand is not unanimous, and any Government must tread warily when it comes to people’s personal beliefs.