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.
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: Our team of leading academic...
£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistants...
£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Teaching assistants required ...