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Most executives say stress and anxiety among exam students is higher than before the pandemic – FE News

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Most executives say stress and anxiety among students taking exams is higher than before the pandemic

More than 80% of principals reported that stress and anxiety among students taking exams this summer is higher than in the years before the pandemic, according to a survey by the Association of School and College Heads.

Many say it has led to high levels of student absenteeism, while some report that stress and anxiety have led to more complex behaviors, while others say there has been an increase in cases of self-harm. Several say that stress and anxiety are felt worse in Class A students who had no experience of taking the GCSE exams because they were canceled as a result of the pandemic.

Schools and colleges have introduced a number of measures, including increased support through revision methods, additional counseling and pastoral support, rehabilitation sessions, and additional parental involvement. Some say there have been more referrals to local mental health services for children and young people.

A survey of 527 heads and principals of schools and colleges in England, Northern Ireland and Wales also shows that almost 80% of schools and colleges received more requests than before the pandemic so that students could take exams in separate classrooms. away from the main examination hall. This is mainly due to high levels of anxiety and stress.

While schools and colleges are doing their best to meet requests, this is putting a lot of pressure on available space and supervisors.

More than a third report they failed to recruit enough supervisors for a series of exams this summer. High demand is compounded by concerns from supervisors – many of whom are retired teachers – about the risk of contracting Kovid. The government has turned down free Covid testing for students taking exams – a move that could mitigate some of these problems.

The potential impact of Covid on exams remains a matter of serious concern: 14% said the level of infections is already a cause for concern, and another 60% are concerned that it is not currently a problem but may worsen.

The results of the survey appear ahead of the start of the GCSE and A-level exams next week – the first set of summer exams since 2019 after the abolition of exams in the last two years due to the Covid pandemic.

This was stated by Secretary General of the Association of Heads of Schools and Colleges Jeff Barton:

“This survey shows the extremely difficult circumstances that students, schools and colleges face when they embark on the first full set of state exams in three years.

“This shows that this is far from a return to normal life, and we are particularly concerned about the impact on the mental health and well-being of young people. It is clear that schools and colleges are doing their best to support them. However, their budgets are very limited due to years of underfunding by the government, and the government simply did not show enough perseverance in improving the mental health support of young people long before the pandemic.

“We also need to question whether it is right to continue to expose young people to such a huge number of high-stakes terminal examinations on the GCSE as is happening in the current system. Stress and anxiety were problems even before the pandemic. Of course, it should be possible to reduce the examination system and make it more proportionate and humane.

“It is also clear that there are enough difficulties with recruiting enough overseers. Obviously, this would reassure these staff if free Covid testing was available to students taking the exams, and we once again appeal to the government to make this a simple and clear position. ”

The survey was conducted from 4 to 6 May by email to 3,500 directors and directors in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The response rate was 15%. The majority of responses – 84% – were from mass public secondary schools and 11% from independent schools. The rest came from FE and sixth grade colleges and other types of schools.

The results were:

Are the stress and anxiety levels of students taking exams this summer higher than in the years before the pandemic?
Choice of answer Percentage of response Answer General
1 Yes 82.2% 433
2 no 17.8% 94
answered 527
missed 0
Did you receive more requests than before the pandemic so that students could take exams in separate rooms away from the main examination hall?
Choice of answer Percentage of response Answer General
1 Yes 78.4% 413
2 no 21.6% 114
answered 527
missed 0
Have you managed to recruit enough supervisors for this summer’s exam series at your school / college?
Choice of answer Percentage of response Answer General
1 Yes 62.0% 327
2 no 38.0% 200
answered 527
missed 0
Is the level of Covid infection among students at your school or college concerned in terms of the fact that students are potentially missing exams?
Choice of answer Percentage of response Answer General
1 Yes 13.7% 72
2 no 22.4% 118
3 Not now, but worried it will escalate 60.3% 318
4 I don’t know 3.6% 19
answered 527
missed 0

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