For this update, we wanted to bring you some news from the Leeds Youth Council who have been working on a project that links in with Wish 1.
The Leeds Youth Council Campaign Group was formed in May 2022 and is made up of 18 children aged 10-18. They meet monthly to work on the top issues as voted for in the ‘Make your Mark’ ballot. The ‘Make Your Mark Ballot’ was a national youth consultation that 5,546 young people from Leeds voted in.
The top issue from this ballot? ‘Health and wellbeing’.
Leeds Youth Council Campaign group wanted to know more about this. As a result, they developed a consultation called ‘Your Health Matters: You’re the Best at Knowing You’. This survey asked questions all about health and wellbeing, to find out about the issues that young people are facing. It was sent out to schools, via the social media channels and to youth groups and SEND event and 853 young people aged 9-18 (or up to 25 for people with SEND) completed the survey.
Out of the 14 Health and Wellbeing issues, exam stresswas the top concern, gaining 14.1% of the votes.
The second most important issue for children and young people in this survey was raising awareness of Mental Health Services. Meaning, the top two issues link with Wish 1 – showing just how important it is that we get this right for the children and young people of Leeds.
Do you agree with these comments from the survey?
“I feel the need to do well in every exam. I get really stressed when an exam is coming up and if I do badly it makes me really upset and makes me feel horrible.”
“Some teachers talk to you about it too much which causes you to worry about it and get annoyed at the teachers.”
“I think there should be some calming activities before and after exams to help reduce stress.”
Leeds Youth Council set to work thinking about what they could do to help support themselves and their peers with exam stress. They collaborated with MindMate and reviewed the webpages to make sure there was support for exam stress. The MindMate website was updated to have this page to offer help and support. You might have seen some of the social media posts that went with it…
Following on from this, they wanted to investigate what schools are already doing to reduce exam stress. They shared a survey with 500+ network members to find out, with a plan to share any good ideas so schools could learn from each other.
Thanks to the Leeds Youth Council, exam stress was one of the topics which was spoken about recently at something called the ‘Secondary Headteachers Forum’. This is where loads of Headteachers from across Leeds meet up to discuss important issues.
Some of the good examples of what schools already do were shared, such as: teaching young people revision and exam techniques; giving time for revision during the school day; teaching breathing techniques; private study time to reduce distractions; counselling sessions on offer.
Secondary schools were asked to do 4 things:
1. Ask your students what would help them. 2. Share good examples from the session with others and put them in place. 3. Make sure you have a webpage on mental health on your website. 4. Raise awareness of the MindMate services on offer, in your school.
Ask your Secondary Headteacher about this! We’d love to hear any updates.