Year 11 is an extraordinary year. Our brains are brilliant but they definitely haven’t evolved to pack a ton of information in over 11 years and splurge it all out in lots of very subject-specific ways over a few weeks under very intense conditions. Never again will you have to do this.
The cognitive demands are high and so are the emotional ones. It takes a certain amount of self-belief and self-worth to convince yourself its worth the risk. Some give up and underachieve to relived this pressure. Some rise to it and suddenly astound everyone around them.
Whether you think its a useful thing to make all of our 15-16 year olds do or not, it would be better if we offered them a way through that supported their mental health and wellbeing so that as they go out into the adult world, (where let’s face it, the pressures and stresses and opportunities for overwhelm continue) they would at least know how to look after themselves, how to thrive and see demanding situations as the opportunities to shine and grow that they can be.
I would argue that Year 11 is a great time to learn good self-care. It’s needed – and we only really learn things when we have to – and it would help bridge that gap between being a child who has little control over their life, and being an adult who knows who they are and what they need to thrive and feel well.
Click here to download my free Year 11 Exam Stressbuster ebook