Pirate FM News 4 minute read

Mental health fears on results day for GCSEs

Mental health fears on results day for GCSEs

Published by Emma Carton at 8:01am 22nd August 2019. (Updated at 11:19am 22nd August 2019)

Thousands of teenagers in Cornwall, among the first to sit more new exams, are finding out their GCSE results.

It is two years since since subjects started to be graded with numbers 1-9, with nine being the top mark.

The system, which replaces the familiar A-C scores, is supposed to help work out who the highest achievers are.

However, school leaders are worried it has upped the pressure and could be affecting pupils' mental health.

On top of that, the NSPCC has revealed it has seen an influx of calls from worried and stressed students.

Scroll down to read the advice for students and parents or check Pirate FM's results guide here.

What are the main worries and concerns?

In 2018/2019, the NSPCC reported that it delivered 1,414 counselling sessions to young people - rising by more than 50% since 2014/15.

A fifth of these took place in August as young people receive their GCSE and A-level results.

Reasons for young people seeking help from Childline include worries about whether they will get the grades they need to get into university and not wanting to let down their teachers and parents.

Children and teenagers also 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. 

"Before the exam I had a panic attack and had difficulties breathing".

One girl who contacted Childline said: “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".

Childline Caller

Chief Executive of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless is urging young people to reach out to a parent, teacher or Childline for support.

“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. 

“Reaching out to a parent, teacher or by contacting us at Childline will hopefully put things in perspective and make them feel more positive about receiving their exam results and what comes next".

Peter Wanless

What is the advice for students?

  • 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.

What is the advice for 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.

Headteacher at Richard Lander School in Truro, Steve Mulcahy, has this advice for worried students.

"The guarantee for schools and colleges in Cornwall is that nobody will go left without.

"The most important thing to do is to talk to people who know best and that's your teachers or the college you're hoping to go to.

"If you're pleased with your results - share and celebrate. If your results are not what you were expecting or what you were hoping for, have a chat with your teachers who will be able to contact college on your behalf or certainly signpost where you need to go for further conversations".

Steve Mulcahy 

Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk

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