http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRL9G6oYogz-ZpEzncZg6T4c4HU_wEKsX2P6XqKvhvbQOX3SHYPOQ5zLywKBy Robert Smith.The pressures on children to perform and succeed are becoming ever greater, and starting younger. The sudden death of a Bank of America intern last Thursday was not only a tragic loss of a life, but a timely reminder of the constant pressure young people feel to impress and succeed. It is chilling to read Moritz Erdhardt’s resumé now, whether or not his lifestyle contributed to his death: “I had a tendency to be over-ambitious…I was striving for excellence and trying to be the best all the time,” he wrote. “I felt somehow pressurised.”
Pressure, for the 15- and 16-year-olds collecting their GCSE results yesterday, is nothing new. The obstacle course which is the British education system – 11-plus, internal exams, SATs, GCSEs, A-levels, bachelors' degrees, masters – means that this crop are well versed in the trials and tribulations of late-night revision cramming, nervy two-hour tests in mundane sports halls, and the sickening experience of collecting those all-important small brown envelopes. Yes, testing is essential – and the "prizes for all" culture was flawed. But now not only are tests taken more often, they’re now taken at younger age too. This year’s results highlighted the escalating trend of pupils being entered into GCSEs early; a policy which not only heaps more pressure on slender shoulders, but distorts academic outcomes. More...