I suggest that our hot-house system of education, with its cruel blackmail that children have only 'one chance' to 'succeed', is a major contributing factor to ill health in later life. If a person fails in his final exam at any stage, he may well see himself as a 'failure' in life and turn for solace to drink or drugs. In my case I became an alcoholic! Some cannot cope with failure at all and every day in the UK ten in their twenties take their own lives. I submit that our children should not be subjected to such an ordeal. Formal exams, on which so much is made to depend, should be replaced by teacher assessments and homework, which is so stressful for some, should be made optional, in order to ease the pressure on our young. It should also be made abundantly clear that there are always opportunities for study in later life. I myself, when I was made redundant at the age of 47, obtained O- and A-levels in accounts and did a course in computing, which led to a satisfying new career. Most of the knowledge we gain in school is in any case soon lost to memory through lack of use, and I don't see how one can be said to have 'failed' where learning is concerned, as we all learn something, if it is only the sum of 2 + 2 and how to conjugate the verb 'to be'!Once they have mastered the three R's it seems to me that our children should be allowed to pursue their thirst for knowledge in whatever subject they please, whether academic or vocational, Shakespeare or plumbing. For those who are prepared to be 'shop-floor' workers in shops, stores and factories etc, without whom we would not survive, they should be allowed, if they wish, to finish school early and make the most of their lives. If our children were given the freedom to focus on the subjects in which they are interested, I submit that 'standards' would rise to unprecedented heights, there would be a fall in truancy and an improvement in the general health and well-being of all our young. Having said that, I submit that the greatest knowledge we ever possess is knowing that we are loved and that the feeling is returned. I accept that compulsary education is necessary in any worthwhile society which aims to obtain a reasonable standard of living and for the natural fulfillment of individual talent, but that excessive pressure is hugely counter-productive and harmful to health. After all, the Ancient Greeks who taught us so much, had no pressure on them at all.