The British Education System vs Our Mental Health

August for humans over the age of 18 is the month for holidays and generally relaxation; whilst these age groups relax and regenerate their working cells we have students. Those students in years 11 all the way up to year 13/14 who are not sleeping, suffering with bouts of anxiety through thinking their exam results. After reading an article on the Guardian website about the education system, destroying a students health, I thought that I should jump on the band wagon and share my side on this quite taboo subject.

Why is this a taboo subject you ask? Well, nobody really wants to talk about mental health or their academic struggles most of us would rather keep our struggles to ourselves keeping calm and moving forward. This is why it is a taboo subject.

From the likes of Youtube stars and soaps, mental health is starting to be discussed far more than it used to be, I even shared my experience, click here to read. With this new sharing platform, teens are starting to be diagnosed through accepting and talking about their troubles, yet nobody can accept what causes these problems for teens in today’s diverse society. Well from my point of view, I firmly believe that it stems from the pressure put upon teens from their family, school, prospective Universities and most of all the Government. If you’re anti-Government like a lot of people are I know, you will automatically put all the blame upon the Government, I am divided when trying to shove the blame onto a party in this issue. Let me explain why, firstly we have your family; your family love you and are not too bothered about what you get, but when you think hard, they do spend a lot of time encouraging good grades. Firstly we should think about when your parent or guardian says ‘did you get any homework’ this is a standard question for parents, but if we were to analyse it we would start considering whether its them asking why we are not working for school in preference to relaxing. Next we have the schools, although schools have many systems in place to support your educational development, they place the most pressure upon you. We have to remember that from 2001, schools have become like football teams, always trying to compete with each other, trying to get the higher percentages of grades than their rival. With these it has caused schools to constantly strive for Uni places and top grades from their students, in favor of doing whats best for their student. I appreciate that schools try to target individual students who they believe fit the Uni bill, but this does become like robot breeding in certain situations. Then we have the Government, who whether they like it or not, will get the blame for something in the situation.

Since the Tory party came in, we have Gove, who seems to be a bit of a simpleton when it comes to understanding what is right for the British educational system. This is because, he, like most of his fellow politicians, whether they are Tory or Labour all come from a privileged backgrounds meaning the way they were taught was completely different. For instance they would have taken their exams for both their year 12 and year 13 at the end of year 13. This is a stupid formula for examination in my experience, you should take them in January and in June for both years; this is because you get time to understand the spec and take it when it is fresh in your brain rather than having to store book logs of facts in your tiny brain. This does not work, which causes overtime us students to become overly stressed when exam season does eventually come around in June. Exam season is stressful as it is, it is useful when you get 2 shots at passing a paper so if you do, it means you have 1 less exam at the end of the year.

Anyway back to the moan, I am lucky that now I am at University, I have chosen to be in the position of working on essays and reading Middle aged English and so the pressure is what I have chosen. Similarly the exams and essays are not monitored by our Government but the University themselves which makes such a difference to their teaching and the exam.  With this, I feel fortunate enough to never have to experience results day or Government regulated exams because they are horrible. I can understand why the educational system is ruining our students mental health, they are constantly being put upon pressure from all surrounding parties whether its their parents, teachers or Universities. I also think the idea of going to University is too heavily stressed on, for example on results day do you ever hear, ‘a large proportion of students got higher level apprenticeships or jobs’ no, which means those students who decide against Uni end up thinking that they made the wrong decision. This is such a ridiculous way of reporting, although I pay, attend and love Uni I would not want somebody who didn’t like the idea of 3 years extra study to have to go.

Last year I ended up in clearing which was a horrible at the time but at this moment in time, I believe it to be the best thing to happen because I am a lot happier than I may have been at my previous chosen place of study. For me I put a lot of pressure on myself; I believe this pressure to be partly down to the school because I wanted to achieve well for them as well as myself. I mainly didn’t want to let my teachers down who I had made super busy to help me. Exam stresses are causing our students to suffer with mental health problems at such a young age, they are becoming prone to anxiety, depression and most of all long term issues and nerves surrounding exam conditions. Adults of the world, listen to me, you need to stop putting lots of pressure on to your students and children they are mentally frazzled.

If you are year 11, 12, 13 and you want a pep talk or you just advice, please leave a comment or tweet me and I will be able to give you some of my advice or give you a helping hand!

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