Two thirds of girls and young women aged 11-21 say there is too much pressure to do well in exams, according to a new survey from Girlguiding.
Girlguiding’s 2019 Girls’ Attitudes Survey also found that more than half of girls (52 per cent) say exam pressures affects how happy they are, yet four in five say they don’t get the support they need to manage exam-related stress.
To combat this, half of girls and young women want schools to be assessed on how well they support pupils and what they do to encourage wellbeing, as well as academic results.
On the subject of bullying and sexual harassment, the survey found that four in five girls, aged seven to 21, have experienced bullying or unacceptable behaviours. One in eight girls aged 13 to 21 say sexual harassment and catcalling stops them from going out.
Megan, 17, a spokesperson for Girlguiding, said, “More than half of girls say exam pressures affect how happy they are.”
“I know this feeling all too well; I sat my GCSE’s last year and I spiralled under the stress.”
“I would often cry myself to sleep, choosing between showering or taking another practice test for physics.”
Emma, 19, a member of Girlguiding’s Advocate panel, a group of 18 girls aged 14-25 who act as the charity’s spokespeople, added, “It’s upsetting to hear that so many girls feel there is too much pressure on them to do well in exams, and that this could affect the rest of their lives.”
“We really need to do more to support girls to thrive and show off their many talents – but without reinforcing the idea that good grades are the only measure of success.”
“In a world full of filtered photographs and online bullying, the last thing girls need to face is a worrying amount of academic pressure.”
“Yet exam stress is very real and forms the perfect storm of pressures on girls, to the detriment of their mental wellbeing.”