A growing number of young people are turning to Childline, deeply worried about their exam results.
In 2018/19, the NSPCC-service 1,414 counselling sessions to children and teenagers apprehensive about their grades – rising by more than a half over the past four years.
Concern peaked in August, with a fifth of counselling sessions taking place during the month when young people receive their A-Level and GCSE 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.
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.”
Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive said: “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.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder and President of Childline said: “I am sure we all felt nervous at exam time, but the possibility of failure has taken on a greater importance than ever before, and is deeply worrying our children. Young people are turning to Childline when they become so anxious that they are overcome with panic or lose precious sleep. And this is reflected in the rising number of Childline’s counselling sessions.
“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 succeed in their lives. We all have different strengths and qualities that make us who we are.
“Childline is there for them if they don’t know who else they can talk to. If it matters to you then it matters to us.”