Experts warn parents of dangers of applying undue pressure on youngsters facing their exams

As the Sats, GCSEs and A-levels season cranks into gear once again, child psychotherapists have attributed the rise to parents' anxieties

Mental health experts have warned of the increasing levels of stress and anxiety among children as a result of mounting pressure from “intensive” parents and teachers to do well in their exams.

As the Sats, GCSEs and A-levels season cranks into gear once again, child psychotherapists have attributed the rise, in part at least, on parents’ anxieties about having to compete for the best schools and jobs. This translates into pressure and filling children’s lives with extracurricular activities in an effort to make them stand out, they say.

Researchers at New York’s Cornell University have suggested that the growing phenomenon of intensive parenting has eclipsed that of the so-called helicopter and snowplough parents, who look to shield their children from every and all challenges.

Primary pupils will take Sats later this month, with GCSE and A-level students beginning a fraught six week period that will see them sit as many as 30 separate exam papersBut psychotherapists have spoken out against the growing demands being placed on young people during the exam period, as anxious parents and stressed headteachers up the pressure for them to do well.

Rachel Melville-Thomas, a world-leading child psychotherapist and spokesperson for the Association of Child Psychotherapists, said stress and anxiety has “definitely got worse” among young people, adding that pressures from social media can exacerbate the problem.