Move to allow students to use ‘gender-neutral terms’ in French, German and Spanish is exams is blasted by critics for pushing a ‘woke agenda’
Pupils can use controversial ‘gender-neutral’ versions of French, German and Spanish words in their exams, it has emerged.
Exam board Pearson has advised schools that using masculine and feminine pronouns in foreign languages may not be inclusive to pupils who identify as ‘gender-fluid’.
Instead, those taking GCSEs and A-Levels can swap the traditional ‘elle’ (she) or ‘il’ (he) in French for the gender-neutral ‘iel’ or ‘ille’.
Those studying German can use the word ‘xier’, while ‘nosotres’ can be used in Spanish.
The advice was last night slammed by critics who said the guidance pushed a ‘woke agenda’.
Critics of the decision to allow pupils to use ‘gender-neutral’ words in foreign language exams have said it is pushing a ‘woke agenda’
Chris McGovern, a former head teacher and education policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said: ‘It is irresponsible for exam boards to pursue a redefinition of academic subjects in order to promote woke ideology.’
The guidance, first issued in 2021, allows students to also use ‘new adjectival endings’ should they wish to avoid using the masculine or feminine alternatives.
Examiners will accept the gender-neutral language ‘when used by a candidate correctly – even though this usage may not always be recognised by some of the languages “Academies” in certain countries’.
There is also no requirement for students to learn and use the new pronouns, ‘but a consistent approach in the use of pronouns is needed.’
A Pearson spokesman said: ‘We’re proud of our work to ensure all students are included.
‘They will still be taught to use the appropriate masculine and feminine terms. We anticipate most will continue to use these.’
Oliver Baer, head of Verein Deutsche Sprache, an organisation dedicated to promoting the use of German, warned teachers not to ‘waste time’ teaching gender-neutral language.
He said: ‘Any tricks to complicate language tend to fail sooner or later, while they are doing harm to the language and contribute nothing.’
Frank Furedi, Emeritus professor of sociology at Kent University, said the changes were led by Left-wing activists intent on ‘sneaking in woke values into the classroom.’
‘Its objective is to gain control over the use of language in order to alter the way people think. A story foretold in Orwell’s 1984,’ he added.
It comes after Cambridge University was slammed for teaching and encouraging students to speak a new form of gender-neutral German.
The university’s ‘inclusive language’ section of the £9,250-per-year German course aims ‘to use gender and non-binary-inclusive language’ in both speech and writing.
It was denounced by critics last year who said non-native speakers attempting to chatter with Germans in the trendy new tongue are likely to get laughed out of the country.