A GIRL was disqualified from her GCSE after examiners mistook her vegetarian beliefs for Islamophobia.

Vegetarian Abigail Ward wrote that she found halal butchers “absolutely disgusting” in an answer on her religious studies exam.

Exam board OCR said that she had made “obscene racial comments” and disqualified the 16-year-old.

In an appeal, Gildredge House School in Eastbourne, explained that her comment was in relation to her vegetarian beliefs, not her opinions on Muslims.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, her mother Layla Ward, accused the exam board of being “overzealous”.

OCR has now overturned the decision.

Ms Ward said: “My daughter has always been the model student, never had one detention in her whole school life.

“She is passionate about the environment, adores animals

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.’

In a statement, OCR said it has apologised, adding that its initial conclusion was incorrect and “too harsh”.

OCR said, “We have been in touch with Abigail’s family and her school to inform them that she is not disqualified.

“We apologise for the stress of the last few weeks.

“OCR takes all incidences 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.

“In this case, we carefully reviewed what had been written by the student in a recent exam, with the benefit of more information.

“We accept that initially we did not reach the right conclusion and were too harsh.

“We wish Abigail all the best for her GCSE results.

“Every summer, OCR’s examiners mark over 1.5 million exam papers.

“Very occasionally, our examiners highlight material written by students during an exam that needs further attention, such as a cry for help by students for example.

“Under rules followed by all exam boards, our examiners are also responsible for flagging up material that could be offensive. Thankfully this is very rare but we take our responsibilities to investigate these concerns seriously. In this instance, the appeal system worked well.”

Abigail will now find out her results along with her classmates on Thursday.