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Exam boards discuss Ramadan 2016 and exam dates

(118 Posts)
DeoGratias Thu 07-Jan-16 07:32:23

For those who believe in invented Gods apparently the exam boards may make some changes. I think the having key exams first in the mornings is the best proposal. One of my children last year who did pretty well in GCSEs often doesn't have any breakfast so he has an kind of Radaman fast anyway from 10pm to lunch or even after school sometimes. I think we can work around this.
It is not for 30 years that Ramadan has fallen so fully within the GCSE and A level period and then we had many fewer people prepared to believe in such things.

MrsHathaway Thu 07-Jan-16 09:17:46

Your opinion of the religion is largely irrelevant given that it's a protected characteristic under the law.

I'm very interested in this, though. Do you have a news link?

I'm vague on the precise rules of Ramadan but I know you're allowed to get up early to make sure you've eaten before daylight and that vulnerable people such as children, pregnant women and the elderly don't have such an extreme fast. One would hope that pragmatically someone sitting a very important exam would be able to relax the rules to permit at least drinking water that day, even if it meant doing other days in lieu before Ramadan started.

I think it's entirely appropriate for exam boards to consider the effect of Ramadan on their candidates even if that's very few, just as they make special allowances for candidates' disabilities and consider how different formats benefit or disadvantage male and female candidates differently.

EnthusiasmDisturbed Thu 07-Jan-16 10:50:10

no I do not think the exam timetable should be changed

some muslims will break their fasting and make up for it at a later date as they feel that they are able to do this and are at peace with this others will not

when fasting it is a challenge, you are meant to be able to deal with the pressures put upon you when fasting and live life as you would when you are not fasting

its a choice, for some they may not feel it is and that is personal to them

but no the whole exam timetable should not be accommodating religious practices

Lurkedforever1 Thu 07-Jan-16 10:57:19

As long as changing anything for Ramadan doesn't have a negative impact on anyone else, I don't see the problem.

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Thu 07-Jan-16 11:06:19

I am sceptical about organised religions in any form. But where you have a significant number of people who are likely to be adversely impacted by exam time tables it seems sensible for exam boards to make reasonable adjustments where they can. It will not disadvantage anyone else, so why not?

aginghippy Thu 07-Jan-16 11:23:55

The school calendar already accommodates Christian students' religious practices. It's the default position in the UK: we always have Christmas, Easter and Whitsun/Pentacost as bank holidays.

If taking Muslim students into consideration doesn't have a negative impact on anyone else, what's the problem?

EnthusiasmDisturbed Thu 07-Jan-16 11:38:22

but it will have a negative impact for some as there will be less time to revise

if this had been set out a year ago students will have been aware but also then school term should finish earlier to allow for revision time what happens next year and the following three/four years

also you are not taking into account what fasting is about - it is to challenge you, for you to rise to those challenges

and yes this is a Christian country but one that is extremely tolerant of those practising other religions

ExitPursuedByABear Thu 07-Jan-16 11:42:00

I am not sure what the plans are at the moment although it was mentioned in the paper this morning. There was some mention of moving the dates forward, which I would not be happy with at such short notice.

If it had no adverse effect on other students then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

On the other hand, I think it is probably preferable that those sitting important examinations do not partake in anything that might have an impact on their effectiveness, be it fasting or staying up late on their iphone.

meditrina Thu 07-Jan-16 11:48:19

It's sensible that this is discussed. The rise in the Muslim population (according to the census) means that it is ever more necessary, if we are going to pay more than lip-service to being a diverse society and to taking equality laws seriously, that these issues receive scrutiny and reasonable adjustments be made.

ThruUlikeAshortcut Thu 07-Jan-16 11:49:12

I hope they don't do it this year, what with the curriculum changing and my dd's teacher off long term sick this would be the nail in the coffin having less time to revise.

Otherwise I'm in two minds - feel for the children who will be starving by afternoon and less able to concentrate but then it's their choice - children do not have to fast but I understand that many of them choose to.

AuntieStella Thu 07-Jan-16 11:50:47

Here's a link with Ramadan dates for the UK for coming years.

It looks as if Ramadan and public exam season will overlap until 2019.

aginghippy Thu 07-Jan-16 11:58:44

It's not something that has happened at short notice. The exam timetables for this year have already been published.

The BBC report says "This year's key GCSE and A-level examinations have been timetabled to take into account the Muslim holy month of Ramadan." In other words, it is something that has already happened.

That report also says that the exam boards have "consulted with Muslim groups on the issue since the month of fasting moved into the exam season in 2013." So it's not something new. I can only speculate as to why it's in the news now.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 07-Jan-16 12:04:57

DS2 will be taking GCSEs in 2017, when I believe Ramadan will be even earlier in the year.

In all honesty, I do not support bringing everyone's exams forward. I don't agree with disadvantaging all students (by loss of valuable study & lesson hours) to appease followers of one religion.

I believe students who observe Ramadan, should be given leave by their parents or religious leader to carry out their fast at a later date - after the exams are over. I have been told by Muslims in the past that this can be done in some circumstances - having crucial exams would seem like a good reason.

DeoGratias Thu 07-Jan-16 12:15:50

The Times suggested today there were will discussions going on. I would encourage any teenager to reject God and even if Muslim not to fast as it is not required of young people anyway by their own religion. If they choose to fast they will still be fine. As I say my son often does not eat. One of the best things we could do for the health of the nation (60% of us are fat) is eat fewer meals a day.

"Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the union was meeting with Muslim faith leaders to discuss Ramadan, and plans to issue guidance to schools and colleges ahead of the exams.

“The guidance will be non-prescriptive and will not advise families or students on how they should address the question of fasting during Ramadan which we agree is a matter for the individuals concerned along with parents, carers and faith leaders.

“School and college leaders are very keen to work with communities to ensure young people are able to observe Ramadan without any detrimental impact on their examinations.”

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, told MPs on the Commons’ education select committee today that she understood discussions were taking place on how best to schedule exams during Ramadan."

TheNewStatesman Thu 07-Jan-16 13:19:39

Let them do the fasting at a later date.

If fasting actually does reduce one's ability to concentrate on a task, then how do fasters justify being able to operate machinery, drive or perform potentially dangerous jobs such as surgery?

Happybara Thu 07-Jan-16 13:20:45

I agree with Santas.

The majority should not have to change for the minority. Eating before sunrise is permissible so why not just get up earlier and eat? If there were changes made to the exam timetable I would prefer it to benefit hay fever sufferers, something which is becoming more common and can affect everyone.

Egosumquisum Thu 07-Jan-16 14:13:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

redstrawberry10 Thu 07-Jan-16 14:16:19

but no the whole exam timetable should not be accommodating religious practices

thank god GCSE and A levels never land on easter or christmas. how lucky is that!

redstrawberry10 Thu 07-Jan-16 14:17:42

I don't agree with disadvantaging all students (by loss of valuable study & lesson hours) to appease followers of one religion.

I presume you are of the major religion here.

redstrawberry10 Thu 07-Jan-16 14:20:48

and yes this is a Christian country but one that is extremely tolerant of those practising other religions

good. As long as we are explicit about it. Endless concessions for christians, and very few for everyone else. It's a christian country dammit. Everyone else should suck it up.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 07-Jan-16 14:23:15

I presume you are of the major religion here.

No religion at all in fact.

redstrawberry10 Thu 07-Jan-16 14:26:10

No religion at all in fact.

neither am I. I am also a secularist.

So, you are ok with endless concessions to christians, but not to other groups?

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 07-Jan-16 14:27:06

thank god GCSE and A levels never land on easter or christmas. how lucky is that!

Ramadan lasts for a whole month. I would support not scheduling exams on eid, but a whole month is harder to avoid. A whole month which moves slightly every year at that!

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 07-Jan-16 14:29:38

So, you are ok with endless concessions to christians, but not to other groups?

As the UK is a predominantly Christian place still, I can understand why Christian holidays take priority when planning things such as school terms, yes.

redstrawberry10 Thu 07-Jan-16 14:33:32

ok. I am with you then. I just get a little twitchy on account of all the other concessions christians expect. School holidays are thoroughly inflexible here (it's almost a capital crime here to take your kids out of school) so I expect some acknowledgement from christians that other groups don't just get their religious days off.

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