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Exam results stress sparks 14% increase in calls to Childline

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More and more young people say they are stressed over exams. File photo

More and more young people say they are stressed over exams. File photo

PA Wire/PA Images

More and more young people say they are stressed over exams. File photo

More and more young people say they are stressed over exams.

The number of students receiving counselling from a charity for exams and grades-linked worries rose by 14% in the last year.

The figures from Childline emerged ahead of tomorrow's AS and A-level results, and next week's GCSE results.

They show that 125 counselling sessions took place with children in Northern Ireland in the 12 months to April, compared with 110 in the 2015-16 period.

The NSPCC-run organisation revealed that across the UK there were more than 3,000 counselling sessions in the last 12 months aimed at tackling exam stress and another 1,000 which dealt with pressures over results.

Almost 30% of all the counselling took place in August last year as the exam result release dates approached.

Common fears among young people awaiting results included a sense of disappointment in themselves, that their results would not be good enough to get them into higher education and strong concerns over their parents' reactions to their results.

Mairead Monds, Childline services manager for Northern Ireland, told the Belfast Telegraph: "Our impressions are that young people feel a lot of pressure to achieve a very high standard.

"It's almost as if a 'B' grade is no longer acceptable.

It's almost as if it has to be a string of 'A stars' or 'A's' and nothing else will do.

"You have to be realistic. If you do not get nine 'A' grades it does not mean you are a failure.

"There are plenty of options available to young people. There are careers officers and teachers that are willing to give advice.

"Don't compare your results to someone else's. Talk to someone - call Childline. We will always listen to young people's concerns and help them work through it."

The head of Northern Ireland's six further education colleges has also moved to reassure those who might not achieve the results they wanted this time that there are many options still available.

Gerry Campbell, chief executive of Colleges Northern Ireland, which provides education to more than 90,000 learners, urged young people to seek plenty of advice in the days ahead.

"It is important that students are aware of the different options available to them and make informed career choices," he said.

"More and more students are making colleges their first choice when considering what to do next.

"Northern Ireland desperately needs our young people to have the skills that will help Northern Ireland meet the economic challenges within the global market.

"I would encourage all students to visit the website of their local college and consider attending the various open days and availing of all the advice available over the coming weeks."

Belfast Telegraph