21% rise in Childline counselling sessions about exam results

Biggest increase in counselling sessions among 16-18 year olds 

Teenager looking downThere's been a 21% rise in Childline counselling sessions with young people who are worried about exam results in the last 2 years. 

Overall there were 1,133 counselling sessions for young people concerned about exam results in 2016/17.

The rise was particularly dramatic among 16-18 year olds  - with Childline counselling sessions up 68% over the last 2 years.

More than a quarter of all counselling sessions took place in August, when GCSE and A-Level results are released.1

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said:
"We'd encourage young people not to be disheartened if they don't get the results they hoped for. It's important they remember that they have options and that talking to a friend or trusted adult can really help them see this clearly. Childline is also here 24/7 to listen to any young person worried about their results and needing confidential support and advice."

"I failed one of my exams and I'm so upset. I passed all of the rest but my parents are still really disappointed and have made me feel stupid and like a failure. I don't know what to do now. I know I should be pleased with myself but I don't. I've always had low self-esteem and this hasn't helped."
Teenage boy contacting Childline

Advice for parents and carers

Many young people worry about how their parents or carers will react to their exam results, and feel anxious or depressed about the pressure to acheive top grades.

But there are things you can do to help:

    • try not to put 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
    • 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.



Childline is our free, confidential helpline for children and young people. Whenever children need us, Childline is there for them – online, on the phone, anytime.

0800 1111

Visit childline.org.uk

"I am so worried about my exam results that I feel sick. I studied all day and overnight for them. If I don’t get all A’s I’ll feel like I’ve let everyone down and my parents will be disappointed. I want to make them proud. "
Teenage girl contacting Childline

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

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      • There were 1,133 Childline counselling sessions from 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017 in relation to exam results worries. 317 of these (28%) took place in August 2016.
      • 413 counselling sessions were held with 16-18 year olds – a rise of 167 since 2014/15 (68%); 465 with 12-15 year olds; 74 with children aged 11 and under. In the remaining 181 counselling sessions the age was unknown.