Supporting Exam Stress | Dave Smallwood

Published On: 30 May 2024


In this episode, Clare talks to Dave Smallwood, Principal Team Teach trainer and Director at SENse Training and Consultancy.

They talk about supporting children and young people to cope with the pressure surrounding exams, and explore different strategies to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.

Dave has worked in special schools, for both the local authority and the National Autistic Society, and has extensive experience of supporting young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities.

As a staff development co-ordinator for the National Autistic Society, he developed and delivered training in autism, and equality, diversity, and rights.

You can find Dave on LinkedIn.

He also shares three tips during the episode:

  • Rehearsing different aspects of the exam experience in advance can help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. This might involve a walk-through of the seating plan, handing in mobile phones, or becoming familiar with the exam environment.
  • When practising for the ‘real thing’, seek feedback from students, and encourage them to suggest strategies they might find helpful.
  • ‘Mapping’ is a useful tool for reflecting on how exam stress can make students feel. Using a large piece of paper, invite them to write down the thoughts and feelings they may be having, and through discussion, help them to gain a sense of perspective.

The Team Teach podcast shares the latest thinking in behaviour, all in handy 15-minute (ish) bite-sized chunks. Each episode features a new guest chatting about a different aspect of behaviour and leaves you with three handy tips to use in your setting.