by Reilly, Phoebe, Izzie & Bethan
Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70% in the past 25 years. Pressure has been key part to play towards this staggering rise, school results and body image being the most significant. But is there excessive pressure being applied to pupils around GCSE’s; or are they just being encouraged to fulfil their potential?
Laura Tennant, an experienced journalist and mother of teenagers, strongly believes that times have changed since she was at school- for the worse. Reflecting on her school days, she told us that the teachers cared about producing a rounded individual; she believes that current teachers are more bothered about their position in the school league tables. “The temptation to constantly compare and contrast yourself with other kids via social media was not ever-present when I was at school,” she says. Bullies find it easy to intimidate on social media as they’re hidden behind a screen. In addition to that, people post pictures of themselves edited and perfected, misleading teenagers to believe that is how you should look.
On the other hand, Sophia Cannon (a Mother of twins) alongside Mr Smith (another English teacher from Brockington College) both outlined that the amount of pressure applied on students is acceptable. “I make no apologies for putting my children under pressure to succeed. I give them high aspirations because the modern world is a tough place and without work and pressure they will fail,” Sophia says. In addition, Mr Smith thinks that the amount of exams should be reduced; however, any upcoming exam should be correctly prepared for and teachers should positively apply pressure.
We spoke to some teachers at Brockington and we had a varied opinion on the topic. We spoke to a successful drama teacher, Mrs Hawthorne, and she stated “Personally, I think children are completely put under too much pressure. The Government is changing the way GCSE subjects work, for example Drama is 70% written assessment and 30% acting. This will put pressure on children that are talented at acting but struggle when it comes to writing”. We also asked an experienced Mathematics teacher, Mrs Goddard, and she stated, “There is far too much pressure on pupils to have to achieve high levels; too much testing is causing anxiety for pupils. Children are now being given a lot of targets that they have to achieve, which adds the pressure of achieving it. Social media makes people feel the pressure of how to look. When children or teenagers see photo shopped images in magazines, it makes them feel conscious of what they look and they feel like they are constantly being judged.
To combat this to some degree, the severity of mental health has been recognised on a national level; the Government have produced five steps to a healthy mental wellbeing and 1 billion pounds extra funding has been put into mental health services. For more information, visit http://www.nhs.uk/video/pages/five-steps-to-mental-wellbeing.aspx