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GCSE wait brings more anxiety than ever

Exams regulator Ofqual is deliberately lowering results to nearer 2019 levels (PA Wire)
Exams regulator Ofqual is deliberately lowering results to nearer 2019 levels (PA Wire)

Teenagers waiting for GCSE results are “perhaps more anxious than ever before” because they do not know what to expect, mental health experts have warned.

Increasing numbers of teenagers are predicted to fail their exams when results are published tomorrow because of a return to pre-pandemic grading standards, with around 300,000 fewer top GCSE grades expected.

Mental health professionals said this uncertainty is adding to the anxiety already felt by this cohort of students due to the pandemic.

Counsellor Simon Davies from Living Well UK, a charity that offers free support to people struggling with mental health, said: “Results’ day is always a hugely unnerving time for students, add to that changing grade thresholds, nervousness about what next steps you will be able to take and reports of top grades falling by the thousands, and you’re left with students who are perhaps more anxious than ever before. No one knows what to expect, which is perhaps more unnerving than knowing you’re going to get a lower grade.”

Exams regulator Ofqual is deliberately lowering results to nearer 2019 levels, after grades spiralled during the pandemic. It did the same for A-levels — results published last Thursday showed 73,000 fewer top grades were awarded than the previous year.

Shaun Friel, director of Childline said: “The exam results period can be an incredibly stressful time. Our counsellors will be there for anyone feeling anxious about their results.”