Jewish chaplains have spoken of their concern that an increasing number of Jewish students are finding it difficult to avoid exam clashes with Jewish holidays.

The Chaplaincy said this week that there 56 cases involving Jewish students whose exams were timetabled to clash with the holiday of Shavuot, which commences on Saturday 19 May and concludes on the evening of Monday 21 May.

A spokeswoman said: “What sets this year apart is the unusually high incidence of students not being granted extenuating circumstances waivers, which would allow the students to sit their exam at an alternative time.”

As of this week there are 56 cases where chaplains have helped students deal with exam clashes on Shavuot this year, with five “contentious” cases requiring extensive negotiation.

“It’s been a really difficult few weeks, especially for those students who filled out all the right forms at the right time only to be told a few weeks before their exam ‘oh sorry there’s not much we can do’,” said the Chaplaincy’s chief operating officer Sophie Dunoff.

“There was one case in the North of England that I didn’t think we would resolve – although after a considerable amount of correspondence and pressure, both from UJC and the Christian Chaplains we were able to come to a resolution.”

In most cases, the Chaplaincy said it had found a solution, either by agreeing to quarantine the student or in some cases creating written agreements for the students to sign.

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