Secondary teachers' efforts to raise attainment at key stage four can often be set back by problems facing their pupils at home, according to a new survey.
A poll of 2,342 young people commissioned by the Prince's Trust revealed that 29 per cent of pupils who failed to obtain five GCSEs at grades A*-C had found it hard to concentrate on homework due to family problems - an issue that affected only 12 per cent of all respondents.
Moreover, while 70 per cent of respondents had access to a computer while doing their homework and 73 per cent access to the internet, these fell to 44 per cent and 46 per cent respectively for those who did not get five good GCSEs.
The study also demonstrated the pressures and concerns facing pupils both before and after taking their exams.
It revealed that 20 per cent of young people waiting for exam results are worried about the impact of this on their health, while 17 per cent have faced panic attacks due to the pressure to succeed and 15 per cent are unable to sleep at night.
Unsurprisingly, those who failed to achieve five good GCSE grades were far less optimistic about their futures, with 20 per cent having abandoned their ambitions as a result, compared to just eight per cent of all the young people surveyed.
Furthermore, 34 per cent of respondents who failed to achieve this target expect to end up reliant on benefits for at least some of their lives and 26 per cent think their exam results will always hold them back.
This echoes the findings of other recent studies highlighting threats to the wellbeing of children and young people, with survey findings published by mental health charity MindFull last month showing one in five respondents exhibited signs of depression before they turned 16.
The Children's Society's latest index of child wellbeing also shows around ten per cent of eight-to-17 year olds score below the midpoint on this scale, with contentedness with life declining as children enter adolescence.
Posted by Alan Douglas