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Character counts

I found Dr Pia Pichler's conclusion on her research among girls in a north London independent school very disturbing ("Such a posh rebellion," TES, February 22). It would seem that these girls are very insecure in their own identities, suffering not only the pressure of their immediate peer group but the additional one of feeling not "real" because of their privilege, and under a lot of pressure to do well without any real passion for studying.

High-achieving girls from academically pressured backgrounds have been shown to be vulnerable to eating disorders, depression and anxiety at university. I would say that their rebellion, while apparently "mild" compared with a more "traditional delinquent underachieving truant", is no less concerning. Such behaviour shows a lack of self-assurance and self-respect - qualities vital for the development of mentally healthy, stable young adults. We need to recognise that a person's success is much more about character than academic performance.

Joanna Dunn, Parent, Nottingham.

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