I have friends and acquaintances who are engaged in the IB, the international baccalaureate, a wide cross-disciplinary alternative to A-level. I attend a grammar school, but these people all amaze me with their tenacity and devotion to study; at the same time, I am astounded by the unhealthy, high-pressure atmosphere that seems to surround them. I remember being told that "you'll have a day or two when you don't do any work, and you'll feel so guilty for it". I know of one girl who is taking time off as a result fo stress related illness after the third day back. What's worse is that whilst they are undertaking a course more difficult than the current A-level, the grades that they will be asked for for an offer at an older university ar not correspondingly easier. This has the backlash that several amongst them, despite being at least as intelligent as the best of the best in my sixth form, are in serious doubt as to whether they will successfully apply to Oxbridge - not because they will be unappealing students, but because they might literally not "make the grade" of the offer. So, a nonsense tribute to them.