Pupils encouraged to develop EQ as well as IQ at Ipswich School Speech Day

Pupils at one of Suffolk’s leading independent schools were encouraged to develop their emotional intelligence as well as their IQ at this year’s Ipswich School Speech Day, held earlier this month.

Guest speaker, Tim Kiddell CBE, spoke to the audience of pupils, parents and invited guests about the importance of developing empathy for others. He said: “We are naturally tribal. We are proud to be Ipswich; proud to support England in the football. It is part of our identity. But we have a wider identity too; a wider humanity; a responsibility to see things from the perspective of others and to recognise there is more that unites us than divides us.

Drawing on his experience of working with some of Britain’s Holocaust survivors he urged pupils “never to allow perceived difference to become an excuse to justify treating others differently from ourselves.

And he argued that emotional intelligence is not just critical for building bridges across society but also ever more crucial in the workplace too.

Artificial Intelligence will expand the world in ways we cannot imagine. As machines are used to do many functional tasks, it will be our people skills, humanity and ability to empathise which will be needed.”

Mr Kiddell, who is a former pupil of Ipswich School, has spent the last decade as Speechwriter to the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street, serving Gordon Brown, David Cameron and now Theresa May.

He explained: “Ipswich School prepared me for life by the educating the whole person. Above all, it helped me to empathise. It is not just your IQ, your intelligence, which will get you places – it’s your EQ, your emotional intelligence. A willingness to put yourself in other people’s shoes is going to be more important than ever.

Ipswich School Headmaster Nicholas Weaver echoed the theme of the educating the whole person.  He spoke about the role of the school being to educate not just in the classroom: “We think we have a responsibility to educate people, far beyond exams, even though exams are important. The word education comes from the Latin, educere, meaning to draw, or bring, out.  Ipswich School draws the best out of our pupils by offering them many different opportunities and experiences.”  Mr Weaver continued by saying that many examples of these opportunities had taken place in the last week of term, including Sports Day, the Lower School play – Peter Pan – and the Midsummer Soiree featuring music ensembles from across the school.

Mr Weaver reflected on some of the ‘best moments’ of the year from pupils and from his experiences, reminding everyone that the year wasn’t just measured in “minutes, hours, days and weeks but in moments that we remember.

Ipswich School’s Chairman of Governors, Henry Staunton, said at the event: “Today is an important day where we celebrate the achievement of our pupils. As an ex-pupil I feel proud to be Chairman of this superb school.” He explained about the changes in school facilities, saying to parents in particular: “These wonderful facilities give our pupils, your sons and daughters, opportunities. They have a chance to develop a truly well-rounded education.” He also thanked staff, parents and pupils for everything they had contributed to the success of Ipswich School over the last year.

The Ipswich School Speech Day was held on the School Field at Henley Road and saw over 80 pupils receive prizes recognising their overall effort and achievement in subjects across the curriculum, both in and out of lessons.  These prizes, many of which are historic bequests from former pupils, were presented to pupils by the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Jane Riley.

Mr Weaver said: “It is lovely to celebrate the success of our pupils in many areas of school life each year - Speech Day recognises the hard work and achievements of pupils, and allows us to thank staff and parents for the support they show.” 

Ipswich School’s Speech Day was followed by a Graduation Service in the School Chapel for the outgoing Year 13 students.

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