This week: Important Information Re: Ramadan & Examinations.
Dear Parent/ Carer,
Important Information Re: Ramadan & Examinations
As you will be aware the holy month of Ramadan is due to commence for our Muslim students from around 26 May 2017 until Eid al-Fitr, around 24th June 2017. This year, Ramadan coincides with the Summer solstice, the longest hours of daylight in Britain, and also the national public KS4 & KS5 Summer examinations.
Fasting during Ramadan for this length of day and the pressures on our students for best performance in these examinations could present issues to health. However it will be a decision for families, parents and individual students whether they are of an age to fast, for how long they will fast and if they are legitimately exempt from fasting. Equally, the degree of observance during Ramadan will necessarily be a decision for them. There is, however, a need to balance the benefits to individuals, and our Muslim communities, of observing Ramadan and the challenges and potential temporary hardship this may cause.
These challenges will be through hunger and lack of fluids during fasting and likely fatigue due to long days and disturbed sleep. This temporary hardship may impact on physical wellbeing and performance during these important examinations and revision time.
Individual students will need to balance their usual observance and fasting for Ramadan, with their studies, the importance of these examinations to their future and their religious and moral duty in the pursuit of education. In reaching a decision of whether to fast, for example on examination days, families and students should be aware of the flexibility that exists within Islamic practices for students to delay to alternative days of the year or exempt themselves from fasting and/or late night prayers if it is believed performance in examinations could be adversely affected.
Safeguarding issues - what would the school do?
If we are concerned about an individual student, the school has an overriding safeguarding duty and should apply judgment and common sense on a case by case basis. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in the DfE’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education. If the school notices signs of dehydration or exhaustion then the student will be asked if they are fasting and advised to terminate the fast immediately by drinking some water, as mentioned above. They will be reassured that in this situation Islamic rulings allow them to break their fast and make it up later.
Please ensure students are well prepared, ready and understand the likely effects on their bodies during fasting and that they manage these challenges well, by:
- Eating well, with a balanced meal (containing all food groups) when breaking the fast at the evening meal (iftar) and during the pre-dawn meal (suhur) and drinking plenty of re-hydrating fluids between iftar and suhur
- Managing their sleep effectively
- Getting plenty of rest between examinations
- Avoiding over-exertion during the day, especially if the weather is particularly warm
- Considering the possibility of following the dawn-to-sunset timings of Mecca and Medina (shorter, approximately 14, daylight hours) as opposed to following actual British dawn-to-sunset hours (longer, approximately, 19 daylight hours).
If you have any queries regarding this matter, please contact our EWO who will try to assist you where possible via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish your child all the best in the upcoming examinations.