21st February 2003 at 00:00
* We seem to be living in a society where the work ethic has been replaced by the pressure ethic, if you listen to some voices that are deemed important: "How does one learn as a human being, except through pressure and threat?" Chief inspector of schools, writing in the Spectator 1995.

"We're putting the teaching profession under a lot of pressure and we're doing it for a simple reason: there are a lot of people putting us under pressure." Prime Minister, on Independent Radio News, February 2001.

"I've got to put the pressure on, because the Prime Minister is putting the pressure on me." Head of the Department for Education and Skills' standards and effectiveness unit, speaking at a seminar, January 2003.

But the message is clearer all the time - if you're under pressure, pass it on!

Chris Watkins

52 Mercers Road

London N19

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