The NSPCC revealed in 2018/19, Childline gave 1,414 counselling sessions to Hampshire teenagers apprehensive about their grades. Calls for support peaked in August – the month in which young people receive A-level and GCSE results – with nearly 300 youngsters contacting the charity. This is a 50 per cent increase over the last four years.
This year’s A-level results come out on Thursday, with GCSE results on Thursday next week, and the charity is concerned about the welfare of the county’s youngsters.
Young people’s concerns focused on getting the grades they need to get into university and not wanting to let down parents.
Teenagers told counsellors they felt ‘worked up and on edge’, with some saying they were ‘not able to sleep because of the stress of getting results’.
One girl, who asked not to be named, told counsellors: ‘I'm really anxious about getting my exam results. I don't think I will get the marks I need to get into my chosen university. I think I've done so badly. Before the exam I had a panic attack and had difficulties breathing. I'm so afraid of not getting the right grades. I'm terrified that I've messed it all up and I'll ruin my future. I don't know how to cope.’
National Education Union vice president and Portsmouth teacher, Amanda Martin, believes the reasons are down to changes to examinations and pressure on schools.
Ms Martin said: ‘There’s no longer coursework in most subjects with performance assessed entirely on examinations. Some teenagers are sitting up to eight exams in one week. School league tables also lead to increased pressure. Ultimately headteachers’ jobs are on the line and this will inevitably filter down to teachers and children. Many children failing to hit targets feel like failures throughout their schooling.’
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless added: ‘We know that waiting for and receiving exam results can be a difficult time for young people, but they should never feel like they have to deal with these worries alone.’
Concerned youngsters can contact Childline 24 hours a day on 0800 1111.