No swimming, sex education - British county's Ramadan guidelines

Last Updated 12 July 2010, 05:02 IST

These range from deferring swimming lessons to stopping sex education to respect the sentiments of Muslim students during the month.

Ramadan is expected to begin mid-August when all schools are closed for summer holidays. But it will continue till the first week of September when the new term starts.

All primary schools and secondary schools in Stoke-on-Trent have been issued with the guidance aimed at Muslim pupils who may still be fasting when the new term begins.
The guidelines advise schools not to hold exams or parents' meetings and social events after school. 

They are also directed to avoid swimming lessons to avoid the risk of students swallowing water. They want cancellation of sex and relationship education classes because Muslims are expected to avoid sexual thoughts and relations while fasting.

Fasting Muslim students who are eligible for free school meals should have the option to take their food home with them in a packed lunch. Teachers are cautioned not to over-exert fasting students in the physical exercise classes as they may become dehydrated.   
Although the guidelines were specifically drawn up to help Muslims, they will affect every pupil in the roughly 90 schools in the area, critics said.

John Midley, co-founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said the council exercise was "over-zealous".

He told the Daily Mail: "Instead of meddling in this politically-correct way, the local authority should trust the judgement of pupils, parents and teachers. They should be able to cater for what goes on within the schools without wasting time on an overly-bureaucratic and politically-correct piece of 'guidance'."

(Published 12 July 2010, 05:02 IST)

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