Some crucial GCSE and A-level exams will be rescheduled over the next three years to avoid clashing with the height of the Ramadan holy month, when observant Muslim pupils would be expected to fast.

While many exams will still take place during Ramadan, which this year is expected to start in early June, examination boards say they have held talks with Muslim groups and aim to avoid holding exams in the most popular subjects during the period.

"Where possible, large-entry GCSE and GCE [A-level] subjects are timetabled prior to the commencement of Ramadan and consideration is given to whether they are timetabled in the morning or afternoon," said the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which represents examination boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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