April 18, 2014
Teachers are calling for GCSEs and A-level exams to be scheduled in the morning to help Muslim students who are fasting during Ramadan, it emerged today.
Hundreds of thousands of pupils across Britain could be forced to take ‘large entry’ tests, such as maths and English, before 12pm under a radical shake-up.
School exam boards and universities are considering the move over the next five years, when the religious period of Ramadan progressively clashes with the exam season in June.
The holy period in the Islamic calendar requires Muslims to fast during daylight hours – meaning they will be at their hungriest towards the end of the day.
This will inevitably cause students to struggle and lose marks during their summer exams, the Association of Teachers (ATL) annual conference in Manchester heard.
Barry Lingard, who is on the ATL executive committee, said the union had been discussing the issue with the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents exam boards, and a number of Muslim organisations.
He said it was ‘highly unlikely’ that exam boards will change summer timetables – but added: ‘JCQ have said that they will work collaboratively on a timetable with Muslim groups to review whether a balance of morning and afternoon slots for large entry exams is more appropriate, or just morning slots.’
It is thought that this could mean that schools would be forced to schedule GCSE and A-level exams taken by large numbers of students, including maths and English, in the morning only.