The number of counselling sessions over exam anxiety has almost doubled in seven months, new figures from Childline show.
More than 200 sessions about exam worries took place in March 2022, nearly double the number of sessions in September 2021. In 2021-22, Childline practitioners delivered 1,734 sessions to pupils – a 62% rise on the previous year.
Over 200 of these were in March 2022, nearly double the number of sessions delivered seven months beforehand in September 2021, reflecting increasing levels of anxiety as exams draw nearer.
Read More:How to help your child beat exam stress as students prepare for GCSEs and A-Levels
Children told Childline counsellors that their exams were affecting their mental health and ability to sleep. One 15-year-old girl said: “My GCSEs are coming up soon and I’m extremely stressed out about them. I missed so much school the last few years because of the pandemic and I worry this will reflect in my results.
“I’ve been pulling all-nighters to revise but then I can’t sleep when I try. I can tell this is taking a toll on my mental health – even my friends told me this is affecting my mood. I’m completely terrified of failing these exams and letting everyone down.”
The NSPCC figures from 2021/22 also revealed a two-month spike in exam-related stress during May and June last year, as pupils went back to school in March and learned that full public exams would be cancelled for a second time because of the pandemic.
Alex Gray, service head at Childline, said: “Our latest Childline stats on exam stress highlight the mounting concern felt by children and young people as they look to sit their exams this month. Children are still feeling the effects of the pandemic and with GCSEs and A-levels due to take place as normal this year following two years of cancellations, it is really important they get the support they need to manage any concerns or worries they may have.
“As well as speaking to a parent or a teacher, children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, seven days a week and speak to one of our trained counsellors who can provide non-judgmental support and advice.”
The charity said children could visit its Calm Zone and advised pupils to take regular breaks from revision to exercise. It advised parents not to place unnecessary pressure on children to achieve certain grades. More information is available here.