A Preston teenager is urging parents to ensure that their youngsters have a healthy school-life balance.
The plea from 16-year-old Nilay Patel comes as research from National Citizen Service (NCS) reveals over half of 15 to 17-year-olds are worried about how to balance school and social lives.
The study revealed that more than half (57 per cent) of 15 to 17-year-olds felt schoolwork must come before anything else if they want to do well in the future and only 39 per cent of teens in this age group questioned thought being happy was more important than good grades.
The teenager’s mum Dee and dad Kiran Patel encouraged him to get involved in after-school activities to try to relieve the pressures of academic life.
Nilay said: “Finding the right balance between school work, additional responsibilities and hanging out with my friends has been tough.
“During exams I go into study mode and that is all I focus on.
“It can get quite stressful at times and it also means that my social life and hobbies including acting and performing in general completely take a back seat.
“I was a little nervous about going on NCS as I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m now so glad I gave it a go and that my parents supported and encouraged me.
“The friends I met and team leaders that ran the programme really helped me see the importance of having a healthy balance in life and the brilliant activities also helped me to learn how to prioritise and build my confidence – all things I know will really help me in the future.”
A further recent study showed that when asked who they trust most in the world, 44 per cent of 16 to 17-year-olds said their mum.
Despite this, 28 per cent of parents feel anxious about tackling the new academic year and only 11 per cent feel well prepared to support their teenager.
Nikay’s parents said: “Teenagers today are under so much pressure to do well in exams and this can have a negative effect on their emotional wellbeing and personal development.
“That’s why something like NCS is an excellent way to teach them that, whilst their education is incredibly important, there’s more to life than exams.”
Places are available for 16 to 17-year-olds to experience NCS – one week this autumn and develop their teamwork, leadership and communications skills before they start applying for jobs or submitting their UCAS application. Find out more at ncsyes.co.uk.