Your say / Education

‘It truly disgusts me that our education system forces ten-year-olds to stress over exams’

By lucy jones, Thursday Nov 12, 2020

Hi, my name is Lucy. I’m 12 and I’ve lived in Bristol my entire life. I think the story I’m about to tell you is one that happens to lots and lots of people, just not many people have the freedom to talk about it.

I first started to notice the flaws in our education system when I was in Year 6 when I was told I was going to have to dedicate lots of my time revising for my SATs.

I remember having to do the same routine every single day and that really started to take a toll on my mental health. Quite a big contribution to this was that they never asked anyone if the work was too stressful.

It truly disgusts me that our education system forces ten-year-olds to stress over these exams that aren’t truly necessary in other schools across the UK.

Some days, I would just come home and throw things at the wall because of the amount of stress I was put through at such a young age.

As if things weren’t bad enough, a couple of kids started to make fun of me and that really upset me at the time.

I know my experiences in Year 6 really affected people around me. I can remember the day before my SATs just crying on the floor of my friend’s room with the anxiety that I’d do something wrong.

I think no one should go through what I and so many other people go through, especially at such a young age.

I’m so lucky to have had such a good support system with people I can trust. I think that no one should have to go through what I – and so many other people – go through especially at such a young age.

If you are struggling with the same situation I was in, I sincerely recommend you just talk to someone. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who go through the same thing as you do.

Out of the nine million pupils attending school in the UK, 80 per cent said that exam pressure has had an impact on their mental health.

For the past 100 years, we have been at the biggest ascent in earth’s history, we have built robots and cars, manufactured computers and game consoles, yet our education system has barely changed.

We are now at a fork in the road of our rapid ascent. We can either listen to the shouts of our young people, or we can ignore their claims and let the mental health of our teens decline.

I know I have a lot coming for me, exam-wise, and I want to make sure others in the same position as I was in have people they can speak to about their mental health struggles because so many people don’t have that.

People say nowadays ‘these years are the prime of your life’ and that’s quite ridiculous because so many kids I’ve spoken to about this have struggled with their mental health because of how our school system has treated them and I think it’s time to change.

Lucy Jones says pupils should not be put under so much exam pressure – photo courtesy of Sharon Jones/Creative Youth Network

12-year-old Lucy Jones lives in Bedminster. She likes art and creative writing in school, and in her free time she enjoys being creative and baking. Lucy is passionate about helping other young people ask for the support they need when they are struggling with their mental health.

November is #YouthWorkMonth and Creative Youth Network is fundraising to provide support to more young people who are struggling with their mental health. Find out more via

Main photo courtesy of Sharon Jones

Read more: Where to get mental health support in Bristol

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