More young people turn to Childline over exam results

Childline is encouraging young people worried about their GCSE and A-Level grades to contact the service

Chidline reveals that it has delivered 1,414 counselling sessions to young people stressed about their results – a 50% rise over the last 4 years.1

Concern peaked in August, with a fifth of counselling sessions taking place during the month when young people receive their A-Level and GCSE results.2

Calls range from worries about whether they will get the grades they need to get into university and not wanting to let down their teachers and parents. Children and teenagers also told counsellors they felt worked up and on edge, with some saying they were not able to sleep because of the stress of getting results.


Tips for teens

Childline has the following advice for young people worried about their results:

    • Don’t panic if you don't get the results you were hoping for.
    • You may have to make some tough decisions but remember you always have options and you can get help.
    • Everyone is different so try not to compare your results to your friends or classmates.
    • If you're disappointed with your results it can help to talk to a teacher or someone you trust about how you’re feeling.

Tips for parents and carers

Advice from the NSPCC for parents and carers includes:

    • Try not to place pressure on your children to gain certain grades
    • Your child may find it hard to talk to you about their results so be patient and supportive until they feel ready to open up about how they feel.
    • Encourage your child to take their time to think about what they want to do next. There’s no need to rush into a decision straightaway.
    • Help them think about their choices by writing down a list of pros and cons for each of their options.

Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder and president of Childline said: 

"I am sure we all felt nervous at exam time, but the possibility of failure has taken on a greater importance than ever before, and is deeply worrying our children. 

We all have different strengths and qualities that make us who we are. Childline is there for them if they don’t know who else they can talk to. If it matters to you then it matters to us."


Names and identifying features have been changed to protect identity. Photographs have been posed by models.

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  1. 1. 1,414 counselling sessions delivered to children and teenagers in 2018/19 – increasing by 51% since 2014/15 when 937 counselling sessions were delivered.

  2. 2. 280 counselling sessions about exam stress took place in August, 20% of the total for 2018/19.