Fiona Phillips accuses former school of being 'rampant with hormones' and turning her into a 'vile teenager' in extraordinary rant
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 25 October 2012
TV presenter Fiona Phillips hardly delivered the speech that was expected of her when she turned up at her old school to deliver the address to celebrate its reopening.
Instead of a few well-chosen words reminiscing about happy times, she delivered a scathing attack on its teachers and how they had turned her into a "vile teenager" who was arrested for shoplifting and also locked a teacher in a cupboard.
She said they had crushed her aspirations and suggested she become a hairdresser when she wanted to become a doctor.
Ms Phillips was attending the opening ceremony as her former school, Millbrook in Southampton was converted into one of Education Secretary Michael Gove's flagship academies and renamed Lord's Hill.
"It was a school rampant with hormones and no discipline, no aspiration and no encouragement." she said. She left the school with just one O level.
"I can remember being in classes throwing furniture around," she added. "We locked a fashion teacher in a cupboard and threw (another) over a bush and that was normal behaviour."
"My mother was in despair because I was so vile to her. They used to come and pick me up from the police station after I had been caught for shoplifting. I was in fights after school. I won't even go into what else went on."
She said the former headteacher, Fred Lowry, commanded "no respect whatsoever" and teachers did nothing to improve educational standards.
Not every former pupil shared her vision of the school. One said: "There was nothing wrong with the school nor the pupils who worked hard at their education." Mr Lowry, who is now 85 and retired, declined to comment on her outburst.
It has become something of a mea culpa week for public figures over their education.
On Tuesday Mr Gove himself issued an apology to one of his former teachers at Robert Gordon College in Aberdeen for his "cocksure" behaviour and for deliberately "ragging" the teacher, Daniel Montgomery.
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...
£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...
£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...
£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...