About anxiety

We all worry or feel scared or anxious at times, but some students may worry so much that their anxiety leads to avoidance in participating in activities, being with others, or going places. A student with anxiety who refuses to participate may be feeling overwhelmed rather than misbehaving or being stubborn. Students with anxiety may appear nervous or restless, or they may cry or become visibly fearful or distressed. 

Anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as frequent stomach aches and headaches. This might affect their interest in class, or result in frequent sick bay visits. Students with anxiety may find it difficult to concentrate at times, especially when they’re working in test-like conditions. This means that sometimes their results might not reflect their true capability.

Some students with anxiety may refuse to try something if they don’t feel they can do it well (particularly if others are watching), or throw their work away to start again. They may seek lots of reassurance from staff. Students with disability often experience higher rates of anxiety than their peers. 

Common forms of anxiety

Students can show signs and symptoms of a number of types of anxiety presentations. You can learn about the different presentations below.



Some students with anxiety want their work to be perfect, and so their work may be high quality. Students with anxiety may connect with trusted adults or friends for support.


Example of practice: anxiety

Learn more about Lata's experience in the classroom.

School Excellence Framework alignment

Wellbeing, Curriculum, Effective classroom practice

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers alignment

Standard 1: Know students and how they learn


Primary teachers


Strategies to support students with anxiety. Including: Evidence-based practices, best practice tips, curriculum considerations and other considerations for teachers of students with anxiety.


November 2021. Share your feedback here

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