Framlingham College’s headmaster tells pupils ‘resist being sucked into a world that moves too fast’

Framlingham College's headmaster Paul Taylor delivers his annual Speech Day Address to pupils, paren

Framlingham College's headmaster Paul Taylor delivers his annual Speech Day Address to pupils, parents, staff, governors and guests. Picture: FRAMLINGHAM COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

An independent Suffolk school headmaster has highlighted the importance of reflection amid today’s “frenetic” world of social media and divisive politics.

Mr Taylor spoke about the need for pupils to find time in their busy lives. Picture: FRAMLINGHAM COL

Mr Taylor spoke about the need for pupils to find time in their busy lives. Picture: FRAMLINGHAM COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

Framlingham College’s Paul Taylor used Speech Day to urge students to ensure their “youth is not stolen” by a “world that moves too fast for its own good”.

Before an audience of 800 at the school this afternoon, Mr Taylor warned the last year had seen a “step-change in the intensity of teenage obsession with – perhaps even addiction to – social media”.

“This explosion of technology, the all-pervading nature of social media, and the pressures these bring have all come about so quickly that, as a society, we have not been able to properly reflect on whether we want to have them but only that we can have them,” he added.

Mr Taylor said social media risked “eroding by stealth” many of the essential facets of human nature, as well as leading to loss of sleep and an addictive need to “court cheap peer approbation”.

“This is an exhausting world that has sucked us all in,” he added.

In response, Mr Taylor said the school had carried out a trial in which two year groups were prohibited from having phones with them. He said the trial had brought a “flood” of supportive emails from parents.

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He also spoke of how many of the school’s chapel services had begun with the “rare gift” of calm and reflective silence, which many pupils had enjoyed “often to their own surprise”.

“Time, and how we use it, is so important,” he said. “I would urge you all to carve out time for ‘nothing’ in your busy days and weeks. Time to reflect, to grow, to discover yourself a little bit more.

“Reflections is the fertile ground on which wisdom and perspective grow and all of us – pupils, parents, staff – need to carve out more time for it. You pupils must be sure that your youth is not stolen from you without really noticing and resist being sucked into a world that moves too fast for its own good.”

Earlier in his speech, he commented on how the world of politics had also been moving quickly, for good and bad.

While he welcomed young people “flexing their political muscle”, Mr Taylor also questioned the “binary world” of personality politics.

He said this has led to a “simplistic black and white, good or bad, hero or villain picture of the world that is in danger of leading to unnecessarily extreme solutions.”