AN exam board has admitted it was wrong to punish a 16-year-old Eastbourne pupil for making what it said were ‘obscene racial comments’ in a GCSE exam.
Abigail Ward, a strict vegetarian, wrote in a Religious Studies exam that she found the idea of halal meat “absolutely disgusting” – a view shared by millions, myself included.
The decision was only overturned when her school, Gildredge House in Eastbourne, appealed the decision, insisting that the pupil had been expressing her horror of halal butchery and was not making any comment about Muslims.The school insisted that no other comments made in the exam paper could be construed as racist.
The exam board, OCR, upheld the appeal and later apologised for the “upset and stress” they caused Ward.
Ward’s mother Layla, a 36-year-old nurse, said she believed the misunderstanding was probably down to an “over-zealous, over-righteous” examiner.
Abbey is an animal lover and a very strict vegetarian. Philosophy is all about debating and getting your opinion out. I can’t believe how pathetic it is.
In a statement, the board said:
OCR takes all incidence of suspected offensive material against a religious group in exams very seriously and must apply rules which are set out for all exam boards in such cases. We accept that initially we did not reach the right conclusion and were too harsh.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn.