Pupils are encouraged to follow their passions at Ipswich School Speech Day

Pupils at one of Suffolk’s leading independent schools were encouraged to follow their passions and take all the opportunities offered to them at this year’s Ipswich School Speech Day, held on Friday 7 July.

Ipswich School Headmaster Nicholas Weaver spoke to the audience of pupils, parents and invited guests about the many choices offered to pupils at the school, which were reflected in the ‘best moments of the year’ selected by all the school’s pupils and published in the Speech Day programme.  He said that for many, the highlights of the year were not their achievements in the classroom, but their achievements in co-curricular activities – on the sports field, in music and drama and on school trips: “It is highlights like these which build memories and form part of a good education.”

Mr Weaver said that if he had to choose two highlights of the year, the first would probably be the Community Service Drama activity. Led by drama teacher Mrs Pitt, a team of pupils visited wards at Ipswich Hospital, singing and performing poems for patients. He read an email from a member of staff at the hospital saying that our pupils were a credit to the school and their families and they should be proud.

His second highlight was teaching in Life Skills lessons, where they discussed gratitude. The pupils were given the opportunity to say thanks on a postcard. He read out one pupil’s postcard to a tutor: “I just want to say I am very grateful for everything you have done for me. You have helped me to grow as a person and helped me become stronger.”

This year’s guest speaker was former pupil Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, who is now managing director of Fears Watches, a family company which he re-founded in 2016.  He explained how he had overcome his dyslexia to make a success of his time at Ipswich School - leaving in 2005 having been Head of Holden House and winning the Economics and Design Technology prizes - and that after a career in public relations, he decided to follow his passion and become a watchmaker.  He advised pupils that they would need to work hard: “The moment you discover your niche, that effort means the world is your oyster”, and that hobbies could actually become their future careers.  

Mr Bowman-Scargill finished by saying: “Things change – it’s good to plan ahead but don’t fret about it. Be open minded, be flexible, build a host of skills and you will always succeed and be happy.”

Ipswich School’s new Chairman of Governors, Henry Staunton, said at the event: “Today is an important day where we celebrate the achievement of our pupils. I was a pupil here in the ’60s. 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 90 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 Sarah Barber.

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.

You can see pictures from the day here.

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