Education news

GCSE results: Advice from Childline

Thousands of pupils will receive GCSE results this week

GCSE results day can be an exciting time for teenagers who are looking to take that next step in their chosen academic or career path.

However, for some it can be a time of significant stress, with a growing number contacting Childline because the pressure is becoming too much to handle alone. Here, Childline Service manager for Northern Ireland, Mairead Monds, offers advice to young people who will be getting their GCSE results this week.


Last year saw a 14 per cent rise in the number of counselling sessions from teenagers in Northern Ireland worried about doing their exams and getting their results.

From our counselling sessions we know that doing well in their GCSEs is really important to many young people who contact us, especially if they want to go on to take A-levels and then move on to further education. We don't want to dismiss any worries they may have, because exam results can be important depending on your chosen career path. But at the same time we always try to reassure young people that getting good grades is not necessarily a make or break moment.

The main thing to do when you get your results - especially if they weren't what you were hoping for – is not to panic. You might have to take a step back and reassess what to do next, but that doesn't mean there aren't be lots of options or great opportunities available.

If you are worried about how your grades are going to affect your future plans, make sure you talk to your family, teacher or a careers advisor so you can assess all of your options as soon as possible. They can help you plan what you can do next. This could include re-sitting exams, or even changing course or subject. You might find a talent or love for something you hadn't realised you were even good at before, or discover other interesting subjects or courses that you would never have previously considered.

You can also call the Ucas exam results helpline on 0808 100 8000, who can give you independent advice on courses, apprenticeships and jobs which can help you decide what is your best next step.

It's also really important to remember that everyone is different; try not to compare yourself to siblings or friends. Even if they get better exams results, you will have different strengths that they don't possess. Sometimes it can take people a little while longer to find a subject or learning style that suits them.

Many people who didn't do well at school have gone on to be hugely successful in life, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and even Albert Einstein. So it's important to remember that good grades aren't always the most important step to success.

Remember, whatever the outcome of your GCSE results, Childline is always available to chat online or on the phone to talk over your options for the future on 0800 1111 or at

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