Stress is without question a major concern for our young people with expectations of others, constant testing, quantity of homework and the Australian Tertiary Admission Ranking (ATAR) system all consistently being raised throughout our consultation.
According to Australian Learning Lecture Position Paper Beyond ATAR, "Schools, educators, systems have been valiantly trying to move in the right direction. But as long as the markers of success reinforce old standards, the degree of change will continue to be limited and efforts counterproductive (2019, p.4)."
The statements below from young people from across the Loddon Campaspe region are reflective of what we heard throughout the consultation when young people talked to us about the stress that comes from school:
"The stress of school work, exams and assignments is hard on a young person [and] can play a large part in a person's health, self image and self worth."
“I struggle a lot with the education so eventually I dropped out because I was scared I wasn’t smart enough. Being shown you’re not up to standards is scary, so I ditched school and stopped educating myself completely.”
"I think it's ridiculous that kids are ranked in VCE and that is what it's all about. If I don't get this score then that's me done, that's my career done for life."
"In my opinion, the stress we are sometimes put under to finish tasks and pass exams would be a reason why kids don't want to go to school."
"I feel like everything I do here is a test. They don't treat me like a person... I am just a grade."
"Make our future less reliant on our ATAR. Provide opportunities for students of all abilities."
"Reduce homework. If kids are serious about their education they should be able to get their work done in class. Home time should be time for them to work on themselves because teenagers need to be able to get out and play."
"No homework = No stress."
Read the full report here.