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Exam stress is parents' biggest worry for 2019

School stress tops Brexit as parents' biggest concern for their children in the year ahead

Exam and school stress is parents biggest fear for 2019

Children suffering stress caused by school and exams is parents’ biggest worry for 2019, a new survey has found.

The YouGov poll for Barnado’s asked more than 1,200 parents what they were most concerned about for their children at the turn of the year.

The findings, published today, show the most common worry was children suffering exam and school stress, beating Brexit into second place.

Barnado's chief executive Javed Khan urged schools to do more to reduce stress and help children cope with it.

Of those questioned in the survey:

  • 42 per cent said they were worried their child may suffer school- or exam-related stress;

  • 40 per cent were concerned about the impact of Brexit; 

  • 38 per cent were concerned their child will be bullied;

  • Almost a third (31 per cent) were concerned that their children may suffer because of cuts to children’s services such as early years services and youth clubs;

  • Around one in four (24 per cent) feared their children may develop mental health issues and not be able to receive help from children’s services;

  • Around one in five (19 per cent) feared they may be affected by drugs or knife crime;

  • And 17 per cent feared that their child may be at risk of being exploited or groomed, either online or offline.

Mr Khan said: “This poll provides a unique insight into what parents think as we near the end of 2018, and also provides some warning signs about problems that could develop if they aren’t treated.

“It is troubling, although not surprising, that more than two fifths of parents (42 per cent) are concerned about their children being stressed about school and exams.

“Learning how to cope with stress is a vital life skill. Without this, children can find it overwhelming, and then it can develop into a serious mental health issue.

"Schools must look at ways of how to reduce the stress their pupils face, and how to deal with it.”

Mr Khan also highlighted the number of parents who mentioned cuts to children’s services.

He added: “The government must also take note of parents' concerns about cuts to children’s services and provide much needed funding to plug the £3 billion shortfall in funding.

"Otherwise, we will see even less support for the vital work children’s services do – like counselling children to overcome trauma, helping them to stay in education or making sure they have a secure home.”

The Department for Education has been approached for a comment.

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