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Emotional intelligence as important as IQ, students told

Left to right: Oli Duncombe, head boy; Nicholas Weaver, headmaster; Jane Riley, mayor of Ipswich; Tim Kiddell; Henry Staunton, chairman of governors; and Lizzie Head, head girl. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Left to right: Oli Duncombe, head boy; Nicholas Weaver, headmaster; Jane Riley, mayor of Ipswich; Tim Kiddell; Henry Staunton, chairman of governors; and Lizzie Head, head girl. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Picture:James Fletcher

When it comes to success in life, many people think it is your IQ which will propel you to glory.

Tim Kiddell. Picture: JAMES FLETCHERTim Kiddell. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

But students at one school were told how building ‘soft’ skills and emotional intelligence is just as important as raw brainpower.

The message to Ipswich School students came from Tim Kiddell, a speechwriter for prime minister Theresa May, who returned to his old school for its annual speech day.

The event on the school field at Henley Road saw more than 80 pupils receive prizes for their overall effort and achievement, which were presented to pupils by Ipswich mayor Jane Riley.

Mr Kiddell told the audience of pupils, parents and invited guests that being able to empathise with each other is a key skill for life.

Headmaster Nicholas Weaver. Picture: JAMES FLETCHERHeadmaster Nicholas Weaver. Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

“Artificial Intelligence will expand the world in ways we cannot imagine,” said Mr Kiddell, who also worked as a speechwriter to former prime ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

“As machines are used to do many functional tasks, it will be our people skills, humanity and ability to empathise which will be needed.

“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.”

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”.

He also 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.”

Ipswich School headmaster Nicholas Weaver agreed, saying: “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.

“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 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.

“These wonderful facilities give our pupils, your sons and daughters, opportunities.

“They have a chance to develop a truly well-rounded education.”

The speech day was followed by a graduation service in the School Chapel for the outgoing year-13 students.

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