We have been shocked by a new trend to stop or take a break from music lessons in order to concentrate on GCSE and A level exams. In our 28 year history we have never before seen pupils leave, take a term off or cut back on Saturday sessions in order to go to school for revision or to stay at home revising.
We have in the past given over a classroom for some pupils to do some school work between lessons but mostly we’ve seen the day of music as much-needed relief from the pressure of the exam season; a mental shift to something different - known to be helpful in stimulating different parts of the brain and relieving the tension and stress caused by the exam season.
We’ve become a country addicted to exams; measuring success by exam results is fuelling stress and anxiety among pupils, teachers, and schools. We are worried about what this id doing to children and young people.
A number of respected voices are now standing up against this and begging for change - in curriculum, exam styles and inspection - let’s hope that we are heard soon.
For further discussion see:
1. Sally Wheale, The Guardian, 17th May 2019 : Stress and serious anxiety: how the new GCSE is affecting mental health
2. Gus O’Donnell/Sarah Marsh, The Guardian, 27th December 2018: Exam stress creating 'troubled generation', says ex-civil service chief