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Charity’s warning that Norfolk children are struggling to cope with exam pressure

The NSPCC has warned that children are turning to its helpline, Childline, for advice and support on exam pressure. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA

The NSPCC has warned that children are turning to its helpline, Childline, for advice and support on exam pressure. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA

Archant

A children’s charity is warning that young people in Norfolk are struggling to cope with the pressure of exams.

New figures from the NSPCC show it delivered 3,135 counselling sessions on exam stress nationally in 2017/18 - with just over a fifth taking place in May.

Half of the counselling sessions were with young people aged 12 to 15, with some talking about an overwhelming workload, pressure from parents and worries about whether they would secure their desired grades.

Sarah Lambley, community fundraising manager for Norfolk, said: “Preparing for and taking exams places a lot of pressure on young people. Worryingly for some these feelings can act as a trigger to them developing mental health issues.

“It is therefore vital that family, friends and teachers are there to support children and teenagers during this stressful time, listening to them and keeping them calm and focused so they can properly prepare for the challenges to come.”

The young people contacting Childline, the charity’s helpline, spoke about the adverse impact on their mental health, with some talking about self-harming, feeling depressed and anxiety.

Mrs Lambley said: “Exams are very important and we really want young people to do their very best. However, they should also remember that if things don’t go exactly according to plan there will be lots of other opportunities for them to express themselves and succeed.”

The charity says Childline counsellors are only able to answer every three out of four children and teenagers that contact them.

Its Are You There campaign calls on the government to increase funding so the service can expand its reach.

In several subjects, these exams will be the first at the end of new, tougher courses.

It comes as traditional letter results are phased out in favour of a numerical scale from one to nine, with nine being roughly equivalent to a high A* and a grade four and five hovering around a C.

English and maths were the first to change last year, with several other subjects, including science, doing so this year.

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


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