Supporting Children with Exam Pressure

In this blog, we discuss the pressures facing children and how ‘exam stress’ is on the rise! We offer practical advice for teachers and parents which can be used as an additional resource to support pupils.

Being worried or nervous before exams is inevitable, even as adults we feel anxiety in similar situations. However data shows that worry is developing into stress across children, and teachers are facing additional pressures to support as the stats are rising. A study of GCSE and A-Level aged children, conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders in 2022 found that 82 per cent of headteachers had reported stress and anxiety to be higher than pre-pandemic.

The World Health Organisation defines stress as ‘a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation’ and predictably exams fall into this category. In 2021 Childline revealed they had received 1,812 calls between April and June from young people with concerns over exam stress, versus the 861 calls they had received the previous year.

Reporting Concerns

It’s crucial that teachers and educators know what constitutes a safeguarding concern and when a worry about general mood can actually be the sign of something more serious; including stress, anxiety, and depression.

“The key thing is to ensure schools have good systems and processes in place, and that all staff, safeguarding leads, and students know not only how to report concerns, but what qualifies as a safeguarding issue. We immediately think of the extremes, but attendance, general mood, and well-being, and mental health are all considered safeguarding issues.” – Mike Glanville, Co-Founder The Safeguarding Company

How can teachers support pupils?

Report Concerns 
Use your existing safeguarding reporting software, like MyConcern, to report all concerns no matter how small they might seem 

Track Pupil Wellbeing
Apps like YouHQ, the only digital platform to safeguard whole school wellbeing and provide students and teachers with the tools to flourish, can be used alongside your safeguarding software to record pupil and teacher wellbeing.

Have Open Conversations
Have open and honest conversations with pupils about how they’re feeling about upcoming exams. A problem shared can be a problem halved!

Support Yourself!
We must ensure the wellbeing of our educators before they’re expected to support anyone else. Lean on internal support and resources in your school to help manage your own wellbeing.

Run Study Groups
Run study groups or after-school exam prep sessions where students can share resources, talk about upcoming exams and create their study timetables.

Additional Advice for Pupils

Share this advice with students across your classrooms.

Ask For Help
Speak to your school's Designated Safeguarding Lead and if you have an on-school councillor, speak to them about how the stress and worry is making them feel. They will have lots of support and resources available.

Look After Yourself
Eating healthily and upping your intake of ‘brain foods’ like fresh fruit and vegetables and fish can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health. Try and get 8 hours of sleep to help your energy levels!

Manage Your Time
Make a study guide, break your topics into manageable segments, and stick to your timetable. Breaking everything down will help your studying become manageable


For further support, check out our stress-busting resources here, or to speak to one of our safeguarding experts about improving your recording and case management process, book a demo of our Queen’s award-winning platform MyConcern.

Posted Date

30th April 2023

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