New Eton head to put emphasis on pupils’ emotional intelligence

 The Guardian is reporting that the new headmaster of Eton College wants to develop emotional intelligence in his pupils and provide them with a “holistic, rounded” education.

Simon Henderson, who took over the headship of the top public school at the beginning of this term, is attempting to signal a change of tone at Eton – a byword for privilege, power and considerable wealth. 

“The whole point of school is to prepare young people for happiness and success in their personal lives and working lives,” Henderson told the Guardian.

“There’s more awareness of emotional intelligence and of mental health, of young people building confidence and resilience to manage themselves in a fast-changing, challenging environment,” he said.

The move is the latest attempt by private schools to reduce some of the stresses pupils can find themselves in in highly competitive environments. Cheltenham Ladies’ College announced in the summer that it was bringing in meditation and curbing homework demands.

Henderson said that while excellent academic standards were important, he wanted Eton College – which has educated 19 British prime ministers, including the present incumbent, as well as countless members of the establishment over generations – to be innovative, forward thinking, outward looking and open.

“Any self-respecting institution should be reflecting from time to time on things it does,” he said. “The best traditions should stand up to modern scrutiny. This is about incremental change…”

More at: New Eton head to put emphasis on pupils’ emotional intelligence


There’s a lot more ground covered in the full article and interview with Simon Henderson, but what do you make of the headline claim to be putting the school’s emphasis on emotional development?

Does it sound like a meaningful change in direction and, if so, what might be the implications for the state sector if the independent sector pioneers this approach?

Please give us your feedback and reactions in the comments or via Twitter…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link

Super head breaks down in tears at tribunal 'emotional toll' of 'Trojan Horse' claims revealed
Prep schools 'threaten to kick children out' if they apply to grammar schools
Categories: Leadership, Private Schools and Secondary.


  1. “The whole point of school is to prepare young people for happiness and success in their personal lives and working lives,”  Agreed.
    Perhaps MPs who were at Eton should go back there and learn that education is much more than the current measures being imposed on state schools through the exam results criteria for coasting.

  2. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove Good for him but then he doesn’t really need to worry about the academic side…so when will he introduce VT to improve EQ?

  3. successcvs

    SchoolsImprove Eton head wasting his/her time. emotional intelligence not promoted taking chn away from home environment to Eton rituals

Let us know what you think...