An angry mother has accused a primary school of denying her child water on one of the hottest days of the year for fear of upsetting pupils observing Ramadan.
Kora Blagden, 32, claimed a teacher at her son Luke’s school refused to let the 10-year old drink from his water bottle because it was unfair to fasting classmates.
Many pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School, Portsmouth, Hampshire, are fasting during Ramadan, which means they refrain from taking food or water between sunrise and sunset for around 30 days, depending on the moon.
The school has said pupils had been reminded to be respectful to classmates who were fasting but added it would ‘never prevent’ children from having access to water
Mother-of-four Kora said: ‘Just before bedtime me and my sons Luke, ten, and Alfie, eight, were talking about Ramadan as we had seen it on the news. Luke said to me he was told he wasn’t allowed to drink in class by his teacher.
‘The reason being, a child who is fasting had a headache and the teacher said it would be unfair if the other children drank in front of the pupil.
‘They normally have their bottles on their table but they were kept in a tray by the teacher. He went along with it but he was thirsty and didn’t want to offend the other children. Alfie said he was allowed to drink in the morning but not in the afternoon.
‘Luke was dehydrated when he got home and drunk three glasses of water straight away.’
Headteacher Craig Duncan has said water was available to students who had been ‘reminded to be respectful’ to classmates who were fasting.
He said: ‘School staff do everything that we can to ensure the welfare of all of our children and we would never prevent them from having access to water.
A number of pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School, Portsmouth, Hampshire, are fasting during Ramadan
‘In this case, water was available and pupils were just reminded to be respectful to their classmates who were unable to drink in this hot weather.’
Ms Blagden spoke to deputy head Lisa Florence before lessons began today and was given a verbal apology for the incident.
She said: ‘I spoke to the deputy head and told them what Luke had said to me and I asked why this was allowed.
‘The deputy head said it was not what they had been told to do and it is only what children of Muslim faith do’
– Kora Blagden
‘She said it wasn’t fair my son was refused a drink in lesson and therefore drank nothing in lesson time all day.
‘She said they will be speaking with Luke and the teacher, and stated she was sorry my children felt they could not drink.
‘The deputy head said it was not what they had been told to do and it is only what children of Muslim faith do.
‘I have no problem with that but I don’t wish my sons to be told they can’t drink water.
‘Personally I think it is very wrong.’
Charles Dickens is an inner-city school just streets away from the birthplace of the world-famous author of the same name.
Portsmouth City Council, which runs the 300-pupil school, declined to comment.