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(UK) Hull: Govt. committee chair blames "exam stress" for rise in childhood mental problems

Feb 8, 2018, (UK) Yorkshire, Hull Daily Mail: School exam pressure is 'breaking' children, says Hull MP https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/school-exam-pressure-breaking-children-1188723 The “constant” pressure of yearly exams is “breaking” pupils and causing a spike in mental health issues among young people, a Hull MP says. Former teacher Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West and Hessle, took an education minister to task for the “constant unending pressure” being placed on pupils in “every year group”. … The truth about how the benefit cap is affecting families in Hull According to experts, one in 10 young people are said to display symptoms of mental health issues. … Children are currently tested from as young as five, with phonics testing in Year 1, followed by SATs tests in Year 2. Some secondary schools test every subject annually, with nationally recognised exams taking place every year from Year 9 onwards. Ms Hardy, who sits on the education committee, told the minister conditions were “not the same as when you or I were at school”, with exams previously sat in one go at the end of the two-year GCSE period. She said, under Conservative education reforms, that there was now “a progressive build up” of exam pressure all the way through a pupil’s school career, bringing some Year 10 pupils to the point where they “can’t cope”. … Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the joint education and health committee – which Mr Gibb was appearing before on Wednesday – said the panel had heard evidence from pupils that suggested exam stress was playing “a key role” in the rise of mental health issues amongst young people. … The Tory minister said: “I don’t think it is fair to say that the reform of the curriculum is the cause of young people’s anxiety or the result of increasing mental health issues among young people. “Our young people are perfectly capable of being taught with the same curriculum as exists in other parts of the world – that is all that we have done.” The Schools Minister said exam pressures had existed “for time immemorial” and argued that exam pressures would lessen through practice. … The Government is pouring £95 million into training 8,000 more mental health specialists to ensure there is support in every school in the country to deal with the rise in mental health diagnoses.