‘IP2 stigma is unfair’ – Project It’s Possible 2 to raise ambitions in Chantry and Stoke schools
- Credit: Archant
A bold new education strategy to significantly raise aspirations among young people and shift entrenched attitudes in the IP2 area of Ipswich has been launched.
The ‘It’s Possible 2’ (IP2) project has been backed by former and current IP2 residents who have become the first in their families to attend university, trained to become doctors and teachers, and are chasing their dreams in America.
Some criticised a perceived “stigma” in the IP2 area – which includes Chantry and Stoke – and insisted parents and their children should not let their background restrict their ambitions in life.
Around 6,000 youngsters, aged three to 19, are in education in the IP2 area. There are seven primary schools, two secondary schools and (Suffolk) One sixth form college.
The project was launched at a special event at One sixth form, in Scrivener Drive. It was the brainchild of several educational leaders, dating back to late 2015. A brochure featuring inspirational case studies, available online, was unveiled at the launch.
One of the project leaders, Anna Hennell James, headteacher at Halifax Primary School, said: “This concept is a simple one but an important one. We want to help people be inspired by others to believe that anything is possible no matter who you are and where you live.”
The IP2 area is “unfairly” perceived in a “certain way”, according to Roger Fern, the former headteacher of Sprites Primary School and current Ipswich mayor and chair of governors at Halifax Primary School and Suffolk New College.
Writing in the brochure, he said: “Where there is a large council estate it is assumed that people who live there aren’t very good or wealthy. ‘Well they can’t have much ambition to go and live in a council house’ is what people think. I believe nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a reputation that has built up and this kind of stigma is not deserved.
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“Where you live shouldn’t limit what you can do... I can think of people who I have taught and they’ve become nurses, doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners, sports professionals.”
“450 years ago Thomas Wolsey tried to create a university in Ipswich and it didn’t happen. But now we have one. Everything is possible.”
A group of IP2 ambassadors has also been formed to visit schools in the area to “keep alive” the aspirational message of the project.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said of the brochure: “The stories might make you cry or laugh or make you angry at times.
“But hopefully they will inspire young people and their parents living in IP2 to think positively about their futures and believe anything is possible.”
For more details and to read the brochure, click here.
Case Study: Michael Parker, 27, is now a doctor living in Ipswich.
“Going to school in IP2, the biggest barrier is perhaps a silent one. Being a doctor, lawyer, economist – it just wasn’t discussed – I didn’t feel particularly well supported on that front in terms of careers. Fortunately I was well supported at home. I initially went to Gusford and being honest – I wasn’t very well behaved. But a teacher called Mr Eden taught me to straighten myself out and think about the bigger picture.”
He attended Northgate Sixth Form and the University of East Anglia, graduating with a 2:1 in biology, leading him to five years of medical school.
“In terms of growing up in IP2, I would say – everyone can do everything. It’s all down to you – your family and friends. Surround yourself with good people.
Case Study: Roomi Chowdhury moved to Ipswich when she was three. The 26-year-old has just finished a PhD.
“Kids would play up at school. It was down to the individual to get on with it - so that’s what I did.
“My parents wanted us to have an education because they didn’t. They grew up in Bangladesh and both their mums passed away when they were very young.
“I ended up going to University College London and did a four year degree in Chemistry. I commuted from Ipswich and got a 2:1. After that I got recommended to do a PhD – it started in 2012 – and I’m finishing it now.
“I’d say to other parents that they should try and get their children and themselves out of the bubble. Don’t just tick along – teach yourself.”