The Guardian is reporting that, despite widespread reports suggesting the opposite yesterday, the JCQ is now saying this summer’s timetable for GCSE and A-levels is fixed and will not be changed to further accommodate Muslim pupils.
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents the major exam agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said there had been a “clear misunderstanding in some parts of the media” over the 2016 exam schedule after it announced that the timetable had taken Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, into account.
In a strongly worded statement the council said the timing of Ramadan had been considered in the same way as other events – such as the Queen’s diamond jubilee in June 2012 – and that the timetable was not open to change.
Some media outlets, including the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Telegraph, suggested on Wednesday that the timetable was still in flux as a result of the discussions held between the exam boards, the exam regulator Ofqual and Islamic leaders, which appears to have raised concerns that crucial exam dates could change.
The reports followed comments by the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, that discussions were under way over “delaying the exam timetable”.
But the JCQ said: “There has been a clear misunderstanding in some parts of the media as to how the GCSE and A-level timetable is set and the impact religious events, such as Ramadan, Easter and Passover, have on it. It is important to note that the timetable for 2016 was drafted over a year ago, is published and won’t be changing…
Read the statement from JCQ in full at: JCQ Statement – Exam Timetables
I did note yesterday that, despite reading multiple reports on the matter, it was not clear if this was still being discussed or something that had already been decided where major, but not all, clashes would be avoided.
That said, I find it rather odd for the Guardian to single out the Mail, Sun and Telegraph for their reporting when they themselves ran this story: Popular exams in UK to be rescheduled to avoid Ramadan and seemed to take exactly the same line, with exactly the same quotes, as the others.
Meanwhile, we do now have this in the Telegraph: Pressure mounts to cancel exams on day of Jewish festival
Your thoughts on where we are now after all this?
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