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World News

Judge pupils for who they are and not by exam results says Christian charity

by Donna Birrell

The Christian charity Spurgeons is urging parents to put the mental health of their children ahead of exam grades as students across the country receive their GCSE results. 

Spurgeons says students have been through a particularly tough time because of the pandemic and parents should make sure they are supported.

Spurgeons' CEO Ian Soars has been speaking to Premier. He said: "These kids have been through stuff that adults just don't understand. We're projecting what our experience was onto them. 

"Instead of judging our kids, as we often inadvertently do sometimes, let's judge them by who they are. Let's not define them by results, let's define them by 18 years of character development. I'm not saying exams don't matter or results don't matter, it's just we need to get them in perspective. I think in today's culture, perspective is something that we're losing a bit. We maybe as adults we can cope with that pressure, but it's not fair to do that to a 16 year old."

According to a recent survey by the Association of School and College Leaders, 82 per cent of headteachers report stress and anxiety among pupils are higher than pre-pandemic levels. Four in five teachers received more requests for students to sit exams away from the main exam hall. The charity says it can negatively impact their mental health if students are not adequately supported.

Ian Soars is also parent to a daughter who has just received her A Level results :

"In the lead up to A-level results last week I made sure my daughter knew I value her in many ways beyond academic achievement - such as appreciating her generosity and kindness. As they receive their results, children will look out for their parents' reaction so remember to wear pride on your face, whatever the results paper says. 

"If your child has reason to celebrate, celebrate with them. Whatever their results, give them a sense of security to know that it's recoverable, avoiding a 'doomsday' outlook and remembering to reassure them in their moments of panic or doubt." 

Premier has also been speaking to Ruthie who is a Christian student heading to university after receiving her A Level results last week :
"I think our first ever national exam being A Levels is a very big step. You need to have people around you to support whether that's family, friends, even God. I think if you just have that support around you, you will always be fine.

"Because at first I wasn't necessarily sure what kind of university I wanted to go to, I kind of just prayed about it and read scriptures. I was just thinking to myself that if they offered me a place, then it was kind of God's will. He knows which path I need to go down. So it's not really up to me, I can just trust God, and then he'll lead the way. So that was nice."

Results for the first GCSEs since Covid, show an improvement on pre-pandemic grades.
Pass rates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are however down on last year's teacher-determined assessments.

Parents or students who need support can go to to access online support and advice.  


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