Education news

Primary school children almost as stressed over exams as GCSE pupils

Thousands of primary children will take 11-plus style grammar school entrance tests over four consecutive weekends next month

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PRIMARY school children are almost as stressed over their exams as GCSE pupils, research has found.

One in three primary school parents said testing was making their children anxious, according to a study looking into the pressure pupils are put under during their school years.

The research by Oxford Home Schooling found that those aged 11 of younger were being strained by the prospect of their academic performance.

Next month, thousands of primary children in Northern Ireland will take 11-plus style grammar school entrance tests over four consecutive weekends.

Researchers said the figure of 33 per cent was "particularly concerning" when compared to secondary school pupils - 37 per cent said they felt stressed about exams.

Dr Nick Smith, principal at Oxford Home Schooling, said the findings would be a shock to some.

"Although school is a place for learning, in primary education it's just as important to allow children to feel comfortable, so that they can learn more efficiently and effectively," he said.

"At five years old, children in the UK start school a year earlier than in most other European countries - two years earlier for those in Northern Ireland. They'll spend around 10,500 hours of their lives in school before they're 16 years old.

"The classroom itself can be a stressful setting for many, and that can stick with children for a long time. So it's very important for parents and teachers to recognise when a child is stressed and find alternative ways of helping them cope."

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