Talking Point: What additional support can be offered to young people during exam season?

With two teenagers taking GCSE’s and the IB, a family focus group seemed a good place to start!  They told me: “additional support during exams is too late. If you’re not ready by exam time then no amount of help will take the stress away.” “Troubled students need to be identified and helped much earlier.”  

We all know what our kids should be doing; planned revision, regular food and hydration, exercise, sleep, leaving phones downstairs and confiding in a teacher.  Yet, the deterioration in young people’s mental health at exam time is truly shocking.  33% of young people who took their own lives in 2014-15 were sitting exams, and teachers recently reported more children considering or committing self-harm, due to exam pressure.  Prevention is better than cure and your Conservative County Council has developed ‘HeadStart’, a service supporting young people to cope with pressure, including an excellent video on exam stress. 

Is Labour’s plan to abolish key exams the answer? I think not.  Coping with stress and preparing for tests are essential life skills, and a good education, the best preparation possible, is a key priority for Conservatives.  Nearly 2 million more children are in good or outstanding schools since 2010. 

However, academic success is not everything and it would help children gain perspective if Schools stressed the many famous people who have achieved success without doing well in exams, e.g Winston Churchill, Lord Sugar and Sir Richard Branson to name but three.  Exam success does not equate to life success.

Supporting young mental health is a key Conservative priority.  Education Secretary Damian Hinds, recently announced funding for children to learn basic self-help techniques to manage stress and your Conservative District Council leads the way in teaching primary aged children safe, healthy digital habits.   

Conservatives want all young people to flourish; supporting mental health, especially during exam time, is vital.