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Madam: On Monday, the county occupational physician concluded that I should be retired on ill health grounds if possible; my depression/ breakdown being largely due to the stresses of primary teaching since the Tory "reforms". But he explained that so many people at all levels of education were applying for ill-health early retirement that he couldn't assure me I would be granted it.

On Tuesday, my union rep said he'd heard that 10 per cent of county heads were off work due to stress. On Wednesday, my 57th birthday, a bouquet of flowers was delivered from my school colleagues. Immediately, I trembled, sweated, wept. I can't cope with anything to do with school just now, even such a kind thought.

How many teachers, deputy heads, heads, inspectors and education officers in the country are too ill to work? Poor staff. Poor kids.

(Name and address supplied.)