Abigail Ward, 16, was accused of making "obscene racial comments" on her Religious Studies exam in June. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


A STRICT vegetarian GCSE student was disqualified after examiners mistook her views on halal meat for Islamophobia.

Abigail Ward, 16, was accused of making “obscene racial comments” on her Religious Studies exam in June.

Answering a question, the practicing vegetarian had written that she found the idea of halal meat “absolutely disgusting.”

A pupil at Gildredge House school in Eastbourne, East Sussex, Abigail was informed by exam board OCR that she was disqualified “due to obscene racial comments being made throughout an exam paper” and, as such, had committed a “malpractice offence”, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

The decision was overturned when it was informed that Abigail’s disapproval came from the fact that she was a strict vegetarian.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Layla Ward, Abigail’s mother, said the family was shocked by the decision to disqualify the teenager.

She said: “Abbey is an animal lover and a very strict vegetarian.

“It made me angry … when asked a question in the exam, you can’t even express your feelings.

“It’s great that it has been overturned, but it should never have happened.”

“Philosophy is all about debating and getting your opinion out. I can’t believe how pathetic it is.”

In a statement, OCR said it has apologised to Abbey.

The statement read: “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.”