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Number of anxious teenagers "surges" with exam result worries

Number of anxious teenagers

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Number of anxious teenagers "surges" with exam result worries

Wednesday 15 August 2018


With A-level results day tomorrow, Childline is urging young people worried about their grades - for A-levels or GCSEs - to get in touch and not "suffer in silence".

Figures released today by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children show in the 2017/18 school year, the number of children reaching out for counselling over exam-result stress rose by 15% on the previous year.

Concern last year peaked in August, with just under a quarter of the 1,298 counselling sessions delivered being given in the results month. The figures also showed that girls are much more willing to reach out for help, and that 74% of all the counselling done by Childline is regarding exams and exam stress.

Tomorrow, Thursday 16 August, Elizabeth College, Ladies' College and the Sixth Form Centre's students will receive their A-level exam results.

For many, this will determine whether they can go to university, and which university they might be able to attend.

Then later in the month on Thursday 23 August, all of the students at the island's high schools, the Grammar School, Blanchelande and the College's will get their GCSE results, which could affect where they go next in life.

Childline and the NSPCC have the following advice for those children waiting for results:

  • Don’t panic if you don't get the results you were hoping for.

  • You may have to make some tough decisions but remember you always have options and you can get help.

  • Everyone is different so try not to compare your results to your friends or classmates.

  • If you're disappointed with your results it can help to talk to a teacher or someone you trust about how you’re feeling.

Sharon Copsey, NSPCC Regional Head of Service for the South West of England and Channel Islands, said: "We know that lots of young people struggle with the pressure of exam results season.  The desire to get good grades and secure university places can feel like a lot to bear.

"We are also aware that once teenagers have got their results they can feel overwhelmed by what comes next, especially if they don’t get the grades they were hoping for. It’s important they share how they are feeling and discuss their options with a friend, trusted adult or Childline.”

Young people have told counsellors they were very worried about their results stopping them from going to university, with many expressing concerns about sharing them with their parents and teachers. 

Others said they were struggling to cope and that the build up of pressure as they waited for their grades was making them feel stressed and depressed.

The NSPCC and Childline issued this advice to parents: 

  •  Try not to place pressure on your children to gain certain grades

  • Your child may find it hard to talk to you about their results so be patient and supportive until they feel ready to open up about how they feel.

  • Encourage your child to take their time to think about what they want to do next. There’s no need to rush into a decision straightaway.

  • Help them think about their choices by writing down a list of pros and cons for each of their options.

Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of Childline, said: “From personal experience I remember how terrified I was while I was waiting for my exam results and then how heartbroken I felt when they were not as good as they should have been. At that moment, I felt that my hopes and dreams were shattered and that it was the end of the world.  

“As it turned out, I was wrong so I would like to remind young people that whatever happens with their exam results, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to go on and do very well in their lives. We all have different strengths and qualities and exams are only a small part of what makes you who you are.

“During the exam result period it is important that young people feel very supported by their family, friends and school. They should always remember however, that Childline is there for them if they don’t know who else they can talk to. Don’t hesitate to contact us, if it matters to you then it matters to us.”

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