Children are locating foreign languages so demanding that they’re being medically signed off from the lessons, a convention heard.
Pupils are coming to high school with a GP’s be aware explaining that they have to be excused from learning languages due to the fact it’s miles inflicting them excessive anxiety, delegates at the National Association of Headteachers’ (NAHT) annual convention had been told.
Rob Campbell, NAHT’s chair of the secondary council, stated that dad and mom producing doctors’ notes as a way to get their kids out of language classes is an “increasingly common prevalence”.
“Schools find that children analyzing GCSEs get predicted grades and it may be not unusual that the weaker concern of theirs is languages,” he stated.
Rather than “face the prospect of doing badly”, dad and mom positioned “great stress” on schools to withdraw their kids from the instructions with the aid of generating a doctor’s notice.
Mr Campbell, who is the CEO of Morris Education Trust in Cambridgeshire, said this has came about at faculties in his personal multi-academy trust, as well as others in the NAHT secondary institution.
“In a few instances, that would simply be children don’t want to do it due to the fact they don’t need do it, and it’s pester energy,” he said.
But he defined that on other occasions, dad and mom do have valid concerns approximately their kids’s intellectual health and it “doesn’t sense right” to keep them in language classes.
Last year, the Department for Education (DfE) launched a network of language “hubs” to enhance take-up of modern-day languages, amid situation about the sliding drastic drop in entries for both GCSEs and A-tiers.
Mr Campbell stated that youngsters are specifically opposed to gaining knowledge of languages for “cultural” reasons as they see them as irrelevant.
He explained that children go domestic to dad and mom who say: “Why do you want to do French, German, Spanish…this is nothing to do with us” or “What’s the factor? You are in no way going to go to France”.
The English Baccalaureate – referred to as the EBacc – has been championed via ministers in view that being mounted in 2010 by means of the previous training secretary Michael Gove in a bid to opposite the “dumbing down” of GCSEs.
In order to attain the award, college students ought to obtain 5 A*-C or numeric four-9 grades in maths, English, the sciences, history or geography, and a modern-day foreign language (MFL).
The Government has set a goal for 90 according to cent of scholars to enter the Ebacc, and Ofsted is providing to look at colleges on how they may be making plans to meet this.
Headteachers on the NAHT convention handed a motion calling for this element of the brand new Ofsted framework to be challenged.
“It is for faculty leaders to decide on the appropriate curriculum for scholars of their colleges and it is not right that Ofsted is championing the EBacc as the heart of a very good secondary curriculum,” the motion stated.
Marijke Miles, headteacher of Baycroft School in Hampshire, advised delegates how she recently represented heads at a summit on children’s intellectual health hosted with the aid of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
“What my colleagues informed me changed into that parents were having kids wholesale signed off via their GPs the study of MFL as it turned into making them so unwell they couldn’t attend college,” she said.
“What which means is that my secondary colleagues can’t make their Ebacc goals due to the fact the children are getting medically disapplied.”
A DfE spokesman stated: “Learning a overseas language can assist broaden a pupil’s horizon and ensure this us of a remains an outward-searching, global kingdom whose young humans have the skills they need to compete with their peers around the sector.
“Language teaching, just like any other challenge at college, isn’t always designed to be disturbing – we have eliminated incentives for more than one resits at GCSE, supporting to lessen the load on young humans studying for his or her tests.
“Schools must encourage their scholars to paintings difficult and gain well with out this being on the cost of their wellbeing.”
Since the introduction of the Ebacc, the share of youngsters taking a language at GCSE has risen from forty to 46 in line with cent, the spokesman stated.