Anxiety is the leading cause of lower than expected grades in primary school.  So what can be done?

Because “anxiety” is such an everyday term, it can be easy to forget what it actually means.  And that can be a shame, because for some pupils anxiety means they never achieve the results in school that could and indeed should be theirs.

At its simplest anxiety is a worry about a future event. The worry does not have to be realistic to affect behaviour, and sadly, simply telling a person there is nothing to worry about or “you’ll be fine” often does not help at all.

Indeed such comments can make matters worse for an anxious child, because to the child the anxiety is completely real, as real as any pain following any injury, but quite often far more debilitating. That it is irrational, only makes it worse.

And here we see the problem that we, as teachers, face.  If we have not suffered from anxiety it is hard to appreciate how debilitating it is and how difficult to overcome.

Also we must understand that although many children do worry abut tests and exams, that “worry” or “nervousness” is not the same as “anxiety”.

Worry about the future is built in to all of us, indeed it helps keep us safe.  Anxiety however is worry that is out of control and unrealistic.  A desperate concern about what will happen in specific situations which has nothing to do with what actually happens.

Indeed no matter how many times the individual faces that worry and comes through it satisfactorily, the anxiety can be just as strong next time.

Worse, after a while, each anxiety episode builds up, so in the end it is always there, haunting the child, never allowing the child to relax or escape.

Fortunately one short-term intervention programme during the primary school years with children who suffer in this way can result in a wholly different outcome, one in which anxiety is reduced to more normal levels.

Such a change can be achieved through a short period of intervention with a small group of children – and the big bonus is that there is external funding available for this type of intervention so that there is no cost at all to the school.

If you feel that you have some children in your school who are not reaching their full potential because of anxiety or related issues, and you would like to make use of external funding to help these children, I would ask you to get in touch.

We have already worked with numerous schools across the country and now have additional time and funding available to come to your school and work with the children you nominate. There are more details of our work with pupils with anxiety at on the Anxiety section of our website.

If you would like to discuss the options without any obligation please do call 0345 3192 666 or 0203 6677 294 or email

Gemma Bailey
Director of NLP4Kids

T: 0345 3192 666 or 0203 6677 294

M: 07849 604582