For many students across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire this academic year has been like no other.
The coronavirus lockdown and closure of schools has led to fears of the long-term impact on the mental health of pupils.
This year, although exams were cancelled, Childline, which is part of the NSPCC, says it has seen an increase in calls from students concerned about their results.
Some of the common concerns highlighted during counselling sessions include:
Feeling anxious, overwhelmed and stressed at the news that exams had been cancelled.
Struggling to cope with uncertainties and no longer feeling in control of exam results.
Feeling cheated and robbed of opportunity to do exams.
Regretting they had not taken mocks seriously, and wishing they had revised more.
Concerned that coursework and predicted grades would not be good enough.
It is important young people remember that no matter what their results are, their grades do not define them. It’s vital that any young person receiving GCSE or A Level results has a trusted adult who can listen to their worries and discuss their options with them such as a careers advisor, teacher, parent or Childline.
The fears are also echoed in a May 2020 research paper by The Sutton Trust, which says that 72% of university applicants felt the predicted grading system was less fair than in a normal year, and over half are already considering taking replacement exams in the Autumn if their grades did not meet their expectations.
of university applicants feel predicted grading system is less fair than in a normal year
Childline has a dedicated website and message boards for anyone who needs help or support. They also have trained counsellors who can offer advice on coping with exam and result stress.
Their top tips for anyone getting their results are:
Talk about them: Telling your parents or carers can help you to think about what to do next, but it’s natural to be scared about how they’ll react. If you’re worried, try practising what you’ll say, or talk to one of your teachers first.
Make an appeal: If you think your result was unfair, you may be able to make an appeal. Whether you can depends on what’s happened, and you can speak to your teachers for advice.
Take your exams later: Exams can be taken later this year if you want to. This means that your grade will be based on that exam and not the result you were given. Talk to your teachers to find out more, but check if it'll affect your place at college or university
Look at your options: If you didn’t get the results you were hoping for, there are still options. Check with places you’ve applied for to see if they can still accept you, use clearing for universities or speak to your teachers, parents or carers about finding other placements.
Build your confidence: Your exams are just one part of your life, but they have a big effect on your confidence. If you’re disappointed, there are ways to start feeling better.
Higher education and university is an option likely to be chosen by many students getting their results this week.
The national student mental health charity, Student Minds, has recently launched a £3m programme to support students as they navigate university life during the pandemic.
They say the new platform, Student Space, will provide a raft of support designed specifically for students from the very start of their higher education journey to the day they graduate.
Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO, Student Minds on the Student Space resource
It features a helpline, text service and tailored mental health resources for any students worried about how they are coping.
The resource has been specifically designed to support students during the pandemic, and will run from August 2020 for a six month period.
While results day, the clearing process and the move away from home already create nervousness among undergraduates, this year’s predicted grades system and the uncertainty around university life in lockdown will add to an already difficult period for young people.