Your views are important

Some students in Year 11 were recently involved in a survey trying to determine what caused them concern and worry. A long list of concerns were drawn up and a lot of students had similar worries. Here are some examples of common worries:

Exams, School and Coursework

  • The pressure which builds throughout the year is difficult to deal with
  • Students felt that they were under more pressure than previous generations because they had to achieve better grades in order to get good jobs, or to go on to further education
  • Parents (and adults generally) added more pressure with their expectations and wanting students to constantly push themselves.
Students felt that they were under more pressure than previous generations.

Smoking, Drinking and Drugs

  • The students also felt that they were the first generation to be under so much pressure about smoking, drinking and drugs. Although they knew that these things had always been around, they felt that they were more widely available now than in their parents’ day
  • Smoking was seen as being a problem because of its addictive nature – once people had started, it was difficult to give up
  • Lots of people felt there was pressure to drink lots of alcohol when they went out
  • They were also worried about how easily available some illegal drugs were becoming.

Image, Appearance and Reputation

  • All the students said that they liked the idea of being confident and individual, but they knew there were times when they were influenced by other people’s opinion of them
  • They wanted to fit in and not be the ‘outsider’ of a group
  • Some were worried that people would judge them on their looks and so felt a pressure to look and behave in certain ways. There were concerns that these kind of pressures could lead to eating disorders
  • There was a worry that all these external pressures could stop them behaving as individuals.
All the students said that they liked the idea of being confident and individual.


  • The most important thing in the students' lives were relationships. This might mean relationships within the family, boyfriends/girlfriends, or within their own social group
  • It was felt that when relationships were going well, everything else could be coped with, but when relationships were going badly, everything else was affected too.

When the students were asked what could be done about some of these worries, the students had lots of ideas about possible strategies. Some of them concentrated on what individuals could do to help themselves, others concentrated on what they could do to help others and also how society could help support them.

In the same survey, teenagers were asked what made them feel good about themselves. Again, many students suggested lots of the same ideas.


  • Being successful in their own way made them feel good. This could mean being part of a team which wins at sport, good academic work or simply being praised for something
  • All the students felt it was important to find something which they could feel proud of and this helped them feel happier.

Having friends

  • Having a laugh with their friends was seen as being the most popular leisure activity for the students. Different people had different ideas about what this involved, but they all found it rewarding to spend time with people they liked.
Having a laugh with friends.

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