Mumsnet survey reveals the impacts of GCSEs on children and parents

teenager studying for exams

If you have a child in the upper reaches of secondary school and you find yourself having stress dreams about GCSE results, fear not – you’re not alone.

We asked over 1,000 Mumsnet users in England how they and their children respond to exam pressure. It turns out lots of you are worried about your children’s stress levels and some of you have pretty high stress levels of your own.

Thirty-eight percent of parents with children in Year 11 say their child isn’t working hard enough and 28% admit to bribing them to get better grades. Of those offering bribes, 78% use promises of cash.

But plenty of parents believe their children are under inordinate amounts of pressure. When asked about impacts during the revision period, 62% of parents with children in Years 10 and 11 say that the regrading of GCSEs has added to their children’s stress levels.

Seventy percent say their children are worried about exams, while 30% think their children are working too hard, and 43% fear their children aren’t getting enough sleep in the run-up to exams.

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said: “For most parents, GCSEs are the first on-the-record judgement of their child’s academic prowess, and some can find themselves becoming pretty frantic as the exams get closer. Some children are readier to grasp the exams’ significance than others, and many conversations on Mumsnet centre around how to motivate a laid-back teen to do as well as they can.

“Set against the constant drumbeat of worrying stories about the next generation’s employment and financial prospects, it’s no surprise that stress levels run high around exam time.”

See the full results here.