School’s community Ramadan celebration

DOWNEND School hosted an event for pupils, staff and families to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The school teamed up with Bristol Muslim Cultural Society to host its first community Iftar in April.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Iftar is the name of the sunset meal that breaks the fast, and is usually shared with family and friends, or at a mosque with members of the local Muslim community.

Specialist mentor Talal Khan, from the school’s inclusion team, said: “This was a chance to acknowledge and celebrate Muslim students, staff and parents, whilst also giving the wider school community an insight into what makes this month so special. 

“For the first event of its kind, the uptake was much larger than expected, with around 80 attendees, consisting of a nice mix of students, staff and parents, with both Muslim and non-Muslim members of the school community coming together in good numbers.”

The evening started with a presentation from Rizwan Ahmed of Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, who highlighted some facts about Ramadan.

This was followed by a call to prayer by a student, and the breaking of the fast with dates and water. The communal prayer, also led by a Muslim student, was “impeccably observed” by non-Muslim attendees. 

Talal added: “Once the prayer was concluded, everyone took their seats in the Sixth Form common room and enjoyed a delicious array of food, very kindly arranged by BMCS.

“Many parents chose to bring in cold food donations in the form of delicious desserts.

“The school looks forward to hosting another community Iftar next year.”

Future options

SIXTH form students from Downend and Mangotsfield Sixth Form and their families had a chance to find out more about their options for the future at a post-18 careers event.

The event in March included workshops on applying for university places, student finance and apprenticeships.

It included guest speakers from universities and exhibitions from employers including the NHS, Heidelberg Materials and Bristol City Robins Foundation.

Head of sixth form Kate Long said: “We were delighted to have over 100 people attend the event, and take part in workshops and visit our careers fair in our sixth form common room.

“We are always delighted to invite outside experts into school to share information, and we look forward to hosting our event again next year.”