Exams and #Anxiety

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My students are struggling. It’s starting to get a little hard to “be calm and carry on”,  especially the ones who are in the U6th with mocks and coursework due and study leave seems ages away.  Telling students to toughen up, doesn’t work. But we know they can do it and that they will get through it, but they need some help. So how can we do this, well I asked twitter and this is what I have found:

There are plenty of Books like:
Starving-Anxiety-Gremlin-Behavioural-Management
Inner-Story
Simple-Guide-Child-Trauma
There are loads of W
eb site like:
youngminds.org.uk
http://www.inourhands.com/contact/
or there are on line counselling group like:
http://centre33.org.uk/
https://kooth.com
or there are apps that are designed as a coping strategy like :
Headspace
Whats Up

But what about us as sch?  Well we can train our staff to spots signs and support and this includes our invigilators. The obvious, ( giving students space and time, letting them see the hall that they are taking the exam in and where they are sitting)  but also gives staff the confidence to help the students. Asking the student if they have a coping strategy works well, as it helps refocus the child and reminds them that they can do this, that they have control.

We can also keep the examination officer informed. Many students don’t want extra time ( some can’t imagine anything worse) but they would like to be in a separate room, or be near a door. Other students cannot be near the typers on lap tops especially if they have long nails. Giving them some control and discussing the issue helps considerably and letting them know that we have faith in them.

However this doesn’t come easy.  In one of my year groups, 8 students have been diagnosed with anxiety and want to be in a separate room by a door.  I only have 1 door and 8 people in one room can still be stressful to some students with anxiety. The wait before the exam is hard to manage.  Trying to find a room away from this crowd but not near normal lessons is a challenge in the school site. Giving them support after the exam is hard as well.  If you have a counsellor, you can space out the appointments on a normal day however after exams all the students come out at the same time. And that is why twitter is helpful, listening to other schools to find out how they are helping students yet are being realistic about what is possible in schools.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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