From its electrifying atmosphere to the awe-inspiring talent of the young performers, it is no wonder that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘School of Rock’ has been a full-house hit since its debut in the West End. Could this be because it strikes slightly closer to home than some of us expect?

The musical features an exaggerated stereotype of private, preparatory primary schools; having been to one myself I can promise they are not all as intensely tyrannical as Lloyd-Webber makes them out to be. However, it does raise the question of whether we really are putting far too much pressure on our children to be perfect in every way.

The 11+ entrance tests have become more and more competitive as children collect tutors like postage stamps to make them that extra little bit more likely to get into an award-winning secondary school than another child, equally as bright. The new 9-1 grading system at GCSE puts even more pressure on pupils to get as close to full marks as possible, even in the subjects they are not interested in and do not wish to pursue while, once again, encouraging competition rather than camaraderie amongst class-mates in the often-unrealistic battle to get the equivalent of A^s (A**) despite the more challenging syllabus than the previous exams. The Duke of Edinburgh award, which was once a bonus for young people’s CVs is now an expectation for everybody to have achieved before applying to Russell Group Universities. According to ABRSM’s survey based on 1,726 children of varying age and backgrounds about learning music, 65% of children aged 5-7 in the UK currently have instrumental lessons, making it equally likely for a 5-year-old to be learning an instrument as a 15-year-old. This early indoctrination will only increase.

Besides juggling with all of the above pressure, children also have sports and other extra-curricular activities to ace while realising their own dreams, fewer and fewer of which seem to involve happiness and satisfaction rather than success and monetary rewards. As a nation we have warped the innocence of childhood into a pressure cooker of exams and Personal Statements in order to prepare our kids for later life rather than enjoying the one they are living now. This clearly is a flaw in society as the simple childish pleasures that end in laughs rather than labels, memories rather than medals and a photo on the wall rather than a framed certificate have been packed into a box to collect dust.