The Spurgeons charity is urging parents to help their children deal with anxiety and pressure on GCSE results day today.

This year is the first time that GCSE and A-level students have sat formal exams since before the pandemic.

A-level results were sent out last week and showed a dramatic fall in grades from 2021.

Spurgeons is asking parents to ensure that their children’s mental health is a “top priority” and that they support them regardless of their grade.

It follows research by the Association of School and College Leaders in which 82 per cent of headteachers reported higher levels of stress and anxiety among exam-sitting students than before the pandemic.

According to the study, four in five received more requests for students to sit exams away from the main hall.

separate study found that exam stress was the second most common factor in adolescent suicide during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Spurgeons is warning that the pressure on students during exam time could “negatively impact” their mental health if they are not given adequate support. 

The charity has created online resources to provide additional support for parents.

Debbie Pattison, a Fegans counsellor and part of Spurgeons’ mental health services, said, “While older children may not always voice their need for support, it’s important that parents offer this whatever the child faces on results day.

“If your child is upset that they haven’t done as well as they had expected or hoped, let your first act be one of love and support, assuring them that you love them regardless of their result.”

She added, “It’s clear that we need to consider and address the strain on mental health that exam and results season is having on young people.”

Ian Soars, CEO of Spurgeons Children’s Charity and the parent of an A-Level student, said: “Our children need to know they matter, regardless of their results.

“The key to nurturing our children’s mental health during this results period is to endorse and engage with your child, ideally before the results day, but also in the days and weeks that follow.

“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.”