Exam timetables could be rejigged to fit around Ramadan

The Telegraph is reporting that GCSE and A levels could be rejigged this summer to take into account the impact of Ramadan.

Tests could be taken earlier in the day, when Muslim students are the least hungry, or even before the start of the exams season, before the holy month begins in early June – or set at a time to lessen the effect on Muslim students…

Ramadan has been gradually moving into the summer exams season in England – which runs from the end of May and throughout most of June – over the last few years. This year the period when Muslims observe fasting will fall between June 6 and July 5, which coincides when many of the summer exams take place…

In a statement, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents exam boards, said it consults on the timetable every year and considers comments from a wide range of groups, including schools, colleges and faith groups.

“The small window in which examinations can be taken, the large number of candidates taking examinations and the diverse range of subjects available to candidates, places significant limitations on the changes that can be accommodated for any one group,” a JCQ spokesman said…

“Where possible, large entry GCSE and GCE subjects are timetabled prior to the commencement of Ramadan and consideration given to whether they are timetabled in the morning or afternoon.”

More at Exams to be taken earlier in the day to fit around Ramadan, exam boards say


I’ve read several accounts of this from various media sources and still cannot work out if decisions have been made – and that means at least some major clashes will be avoided – or whether it is still being debated.

What do you think – should exams be moved so they don’t clash with Ramadan?

Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…


Should exams be moved to avoid Ramadan this summer?

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  1. Nairb1

    If moving the exams a bit is no disadvantage to other students then why not, because and exam during Ramadan is likely to disadvantage Muslim students.

  2. A decision hasn’t been made.  The Children’s Commissioner told the Education Select Committee that discussions were taking place to possibly change exam timetables but a spokesperson for the Joint Council for Qualifications which represents all exam boards there was only a small window for exams and the timetables were drawn up after consultations various bodies including Muslim groups.   Where possible, he said, large entry exams were timetabled before Ramadam.  http://schoolsweek.co.uk/childrens-commissioner-exams-could-be-delayed-by-ramadan/

  3. There is plenty of advice for Muslims about how to combine exams with fasting eg ensuring they eat a good breakfast including sufficient liquid.  Fasting can be broken if a person feels ill although they have to make it up at a later date.  Some LAs issue guidance about Ramadam and schools eg http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/Lists/IpointArticles/Attachments/416/guidance%20ramadan%202015%20revised.pdf
    That said, Muslim leaders in Britain could suggest fasting takes place according to the time of sunrise and sunset in Mecca (05.33 and 19.46 respectively).  The fast would then be much shorter and cause less distress.  Hardliners probably wouldn’t like it but it seems a sensible compromise for Muslims living in the north.

  4. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove Real problems of hay-fever sufferers brushed aside; absurd shibboleth of 7thC tribes admitted. #Shameful

  5. Nairb1 School timetables revolve round external exams.  For example, work experience (where it still exists) often takes place after Year 11 have completed exams so staff are available for supervision of pupils on placement.  If exams were moved to a later time this would disrupt such planned activities.
    That said, exams have already been shifted slightly this year to bring large entry exams forward before Ramadam.

  6. nelsons_pigeon

    SchoolsImprove Why?? The total population of muslims is approx 3million including adults. So why should the majority ill considered

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