Education news

Pupils turning to Childline over exam results stress

CHILDREN who fail to get the exam results they hoped for are increasingly contacting Childline for help and advice.

As thousands of teenagers await AS and A-level results this week, the charity has revealed that it held 125 couselling sessions with young people struggling with exam and results pressures in 2016-2017. The figure is up 14 per cent on the prevsious year.

The NSPCC-run helpline said many young people told counsellors they were disappointed with themselves and worried their grades might affect them getting into the university or college of their choice, while others were concerned about their parent’s reaction to their results.

Anxiety and low mood were also mentioned when discussing exam results, with some saying they were struggling to cope with the pressure to do well and achieve top grades.

One girl told who contacted Childline said: “I am so worried about my exam results that I feel sick. I studied all day and overnight for them. If I don’t get all As I’ll feel like I’ve let everyone down and my parents will be disappointed. I want to make them proud.”

A teenage boy said: “I failed one of my exams and I’m so upset. I passed all of the rest but my parents are still really disappointed and have made me feel like stupid and like a failure. I don’t know what to do now. I know I should be pleased with myself but I don’t. I’ve always had low self esteem and this hasn’t helped.”

Head of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, Neil Anderson, said: “Waiting for exam results can be an anxious time for young people and can leave some struggling to cope. Pressure to achieve good grades and worries about securing further education places and jobs can be too much for some to deal with on their own.

“We’d encourage young people not to be disheartened if they do not get the results they hoped for. It’s important they remember that they have lots of options and that talking to a friend or trusted adult can really help them see this clearly. Childline is also here 24/7 to listen to any young person worried about their results and needing confidential support and advice.”

The NSPCC has the following advice for young people:

  • Don’t panic if you don't get the results you were hoping for
  • You may have to make some decisions but remember you 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.

Advice for parents and carers:

  • Try not to place unnecessary pressure on your children to gain certain grades
  • Your child may find it hard to talk to you about their results but be supportive and take time to listen to their worries.
  • Encourage your child to take their time to think about what they’d like to do. There’s no need to rush into a decision straightaway.
  • Help them think about their choices by writing down a list of pros and about each of their options.


Advice about what to do after school can also be found on Childline’s YouTube channel in a video called Life after School -


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

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