As GCSE reforms take their toll, it is vital that young people have better access to mental health services, says Samantha Price, Chair of the HMC Wellbeing Working Group

25 August 2017
Posted by HMC Press Office

This year, those with the responsibility for the welfare of 17-year olds who have just received their GCSE results will need to pay close attention to how they are coping, more so than in previous years. Students this year are coping with not only the normal stresses, but also with ones bought around by the new GCSE curriculum, which is harder, and has results that are more difficult to understand.

Benenden School in Kent decided to wait for the time being and stick with the international GCSE in English and Maths, as being an independent school, they are fortunate to have the choice. This ultimately means that they can assess the impact of these teething issues for the new GCSE's and can learn from this to help their students adapt next year, arguing that if pupils are to be used as guinea pigs for what is essentially a political purpose, they must expect an even higher level of care from the adults around them.

The chief concern of Benenden Headmistress, and Chair of the HMC Wellbeing Working Group, is that with the uncertainty of the new system comes the risk of young people feeling as if they have underperformed, particularly when they compare themselves to siblings or friends, with more students potentially feeling their grades are not worthy of great jubilation- even though they are.

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