EXCLUSIVE: Schools urged to ‘show sensitivity’ to Muslim pupils by moving GCSE and A-Level revision classes and rescheduling sports days for Ramadan

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From the Daily Mail

The pamphlet has been published by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which represents more than 18,000 head teachers and college leaders. 

It recommends teenagers should not stay up late praying during this summer’s exam period because ‘extra devotions in Ramadan are voluntary’ and performing well at school is ‘obligatory’.

The report – which was authored by ‘inclusion specialist’ Anna Cole – warns: ‘Young people should be made aware that Islam does not require them to put their futures in jeopardy.’

It also says that despite a ‘combination of long days, higher temperatures as well as examinations’ putting extra pressure on young Muslims, many will still opt to participate in Ramadan.

The ASCL research paper concludes that primary-aged children should not fast and makes a series of recommendations to secondary school head teachers to ‘ease the pressure’ on Muslim students.

Schools are also asked to provide prayer rooms as well as to make sure exam rooms are in the shade with fans and bottles of water available.

But the guidance starkly warns: ‘If a student taking an exam is showing any signs that they may be dehydrated, such as a headache or drowsiness, they should be advised to terminate the fast immediately by drinking some water.’

In this instance, staff are told to ‘inform pupils of the allowances Islam gives for them to break the fast and make it up later if they feel fasting will in any way jeopardise their performance’.

They are also advised to ‘discuss with students whether they would prefer revision lessons to be in the morning or afternoon’.

‘School and college leaders will also want to consider the possible impact fasting and late night prayers during Ramadan may have on Muslim children when setting dates for other activities, such as sports days, trips and celebrations.’

These well-rated comments are pertinent in my opinion. 

Mogsy12, London,

When Ramadan falls is not our problem. The UK is a Christian country.

JRobson, Blandford Forum  

If they need special allowances for revision and exams they’re going to be no use to a future employer. Time to show them the door.

# What happened in the 1960’s to 1990’s – we never had to change anything before, they must have worked round our exams etc. Changed days eh

Other comments point out that Jews, Hindus and Sikhs manage their religious requirements without fuss. 

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