Teen’s heart-rending message about new GCSE grades exposes ‘ridiculous’ pressure pupils are under.

The Huffington Post Young Voices reports of a teenager’s passionate post about how the government’s new GCSE grading system has put so much pressure on students they are “crying in the toilets” and “breaking down in the middle of a lesson” has gone viral. 

GCSE student Emma Jameson say the changes are pushing pupils to the edge. 

According to the teen, she has been expected to memorise two books, a play and 15 poems for her English literature exam, while the GCSE maths course now covers A Level material. 

“At school, we are not taught about our subject or inspired to learn, we are informed of what examiners want to hear. It is a test of memory if nothing else.

“Of course I can’t speak on behalf of everyone my age, but in my school, everyone’s mental health isn’t exactly tip top,” she continued.

“Despite support from teachers, they know there isn’t much they can do as it is the government that puts pressure on them. It’s not uncommon to see us roaming corridors with faded looks in our eyes or crying in the toilets and I’ve kind of got used to people breaking down in the middle of a lesson.”

Adding that teenagers are often mis-labelled as “a lazy young generation” despite the pressure they’re under, Jameson concluded: “I appreciate the fact that this isn’t the biggest issue in the world and that life will only get harder when we get a job, a house, and debts, but if something doesn’t change then I think this country may wake up one day to a mentally unstable generation that have no ability to think for themselves.” 

The schoolgirl has had support from students, teachers and parents across the UK.

On Facebook a woman named Jo Shaw commented “Who does it benefit if the education system pushes teachers and pupils to such levels of stress and pressure they cant cope? The adults can leave the profession, and do so in droves. The youngsters can only fail.” 

“As a retired secondary school teacher, I weep for you all,” a man named Peter Wilkinson added. 

Read more Teen’s heart-rending message about new GCSE grades exposes ‘ridiculous’ pressure pupils are under.

Are GCSEs creating a nation of unstable teenagers? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin 

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Categories: Health, Mental Health, Secondary and Teaching.


  1. Mike Bell

    “she has been expected to memorise two books, a play and 15 poems for her English literature exam”
    Is the above a factual statement?

  2. I don’t think there’s much different here than when we had O Levels. I remember having to read and remember as much as I could about my English books, plays and poems. We were never given course materials in the exam and had to rely on memory to answer examination questions. But then, we could take text books and exercise books home. Many schools don’t let learners do this anymore for fear they won’t bring them back to class when needed, or the exercise books aren’t available when senior leaders or Ofsted want to look at them. I think that’s more the problem!

  3. Julie

    The difference is we were geared up to ‘O’ levels from first year in secondary school, these youngsters were geared up to the old U to A* system then after 3 years in the government changed the goal posts. I feel it is totally unfair.

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