Belfast Telegraph

More pupils seeking help to deal with exam anxiety

Childline: Mairead Monds
Childline: Mairead Monds
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Exam fears are causing a growing number of local schoolchildren to seek help, a charity has warned.

With thousands expecting their GCSE results tomorrow, Childline said it had delivered 153 counselling sessions during 2018/19 at its bases in Foyle and Belfast. This was part of a 50% increase across the UK.

In the UK, 1,414 counselling sessions have been delivered since 2014/15, with a fifth during results season in August.

Children and teenagers told counsellors they dreaded getting their results so much they couldn't sleep. Anxiety over not getting into university and letting down teachers and parents was also cited.

One girl who contacted Childline said: "I'm so afraid of not getting the right grades.

"I'm terrified that I've messed it all up and I'll ruin my future. I don't know how to cope."

Mairead Monds, head of Childline in Northern Ireland, told students they weren't alone.

"Reaching out to a parent, teacher or by contacting us at Childline will hopefully put things in perspective and make them feel more positive about receiving their exam results and what comes next," she added.

A spokesperson for the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) said: "The CCEA understands that results day can be an anxious time for students, their parents and their teachers.

"We have expert staff on hand who will deal with calls on issues such as how to access grade boundaries, information on remarks, access to scripts and online results queries."

Childline offers advice 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at The CCEA helpline is open weekdays until August 30 on 028 9026 1260, with further information at

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