Fiona Phillips goes back to her old school and says: 'Thanks for crushing my aspirations and turning me into a vile, shoplifting teen'TV presenter said teachers at
Millbrook School in Southampton crushed her aspirations and left
her with just one O-levelShe said the school was 'rampant with hormones and no discipline' in the 70s
Her rant came as she was invited to be a guest speaker at ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new building
The speech has drawn angry criticism from former pupils and governors who have come forward to defend their school
16:51 GMT, 25 October 2012
TV presenter Fiona Phillips has launched scathing attack on the education she received at her old school saying it transformed her from a promising pupil into a 'vile teenager'.
The 51-year-old claimed teachers at
Millbrook School in Southampton, Hants, in the 70s crushed her aspirations and left
her with just one O-level.
She said: 'I went in and said I wanted to be a doctor and they said “have you thought about hairdressing”'
Scroll down to watch Fiona's speech
Rant: Fiona Phillips slammed the education she received at Millbrook School in Southampton when she was invited to be a guest speaker at a ceremony celebrating their rebranding as an Academy
The former GMTV presenter's rant came at what was supposed to be a celebratory ceremony for the rebranding of her
former school as a new Academy.
She had been invited to attend as a guest speaker but left former pupils, governors and teachers outraged by her unflattering comments.
She said her education had been an 'eye-opener' and turned her into a 'vile teenager' who was arrested for shoplifting.
And she regaled those attending with
tales of how she and her peers locked a teacher in a cupboard and threw
another over a bush.
Blame: The TV presenter said the school turned her into a 'vile' shopping-lifting teenager
Her speech at the new 16 million
pounds Oasis Academy Lord's Hill School even saw her brand former head,
Fred Lowry, a man who 'commanded no respect whatsoever'.
Ms Phillips said: 'It was a school rampant with hormones and no discipline, no aspiration and no encouragement. I went in and said I wanted to be a doctor and they said “have you thought about hairdressing”
'I can remember being in classes throwing furniture around. We locked a fashion teacher in a cupboard and threw one over a bush, and that was normal behaviour.
VIDEO: Fiona's unguarded speech to the pupils and staff at Millbrook
Guest speaker: Fiona Phillips with founder of the Oasis Trust, Steve Chalke, left, and principal Ian Golding. She left many outraged by the content of her speech
Innocence lost: A young Fiona with her brother Mark in 1969. She said her secondary school transformed her from a promising pupil into a vile teen
'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 shop lifting. I was in
fights after school, I won't even go into what else went on.
'My mother couldn't believe that this constant pupil had turned into this vile teenager.
'I left with one O-level in English language, purely because I read a lot and all my education came from home.'
Ms Phillips said she had left primary
school at the 'top of her class' and her arrival at Millbrook School had
been an 'eye-opener'.
She went on to say the teaching staff did 'nothing' to shore up educational standards.
'Not proud of the educuation I had there': The TV presenter was invited to celebrate the opening of the school's new building, pictured, and used it as an opportunity to criticise her time at the school in the 70s
She added: 'I'm proud to say I went to Millbrook School. I'm not proud of the education I had there.'
And if that wasn’t enough, she then
raged about the area of Millbrook, saying she was 'angry' there had been 'hardly any investment in nearly half a century.'
The speech has drawn angry criticism from former pupils and governors who have come forward to defend their school.
Attack: Fiona branded her former head, Fred Lowry, pictured, a man who 'commanded no respect whatsoever'
One, who was a pupil at the same time
as Ms Phillips, said: 'There was nothing wrong with the school nor the
pupils who worked hard at their education. Perhaps if Ms Phillips had
not spent so much time throwing furniture and teachers around she may
have got more out of her time there.
'I left school with seven O-levels. I
went to college and worked for my A-levels and went to university and
worked for my degree.
know from personal experience that many of my fellow Millbrook pupils
did the same – more than the national average for the time.'
Mayor Derek Burke, a former governor of Millbrook School, accused Ms Phillips of 'dramatic licence' saying it 'wasn't nearly as bad as she painted'.
He added current head teachers in the city he had spoken to had told him they were 'very uncomfortable' with her remarks.
Speaking about former head Fred Lowry, Cllr Burke said: 'I knew Fred. He was a good head teacher of the school. I believe he had respect.'
He added his own daughters had attended the school and had achieved lots of GCSEs, along with their friends.
Councillor Don Thomas, a pupil at Millbrook School’s predecessor in the 1960s, also came to the school's defence.
He said: 'It's not appropriate for her to be criticising a former local authority school which did a good job in difficult circumstances.'
Success: Fiona went on to be a presenter on GMTV and is pictured here interviewing Tony Blair when he was the Prime Minister
He said he had been contacted by one resident who was very angry at Ms Phillips' outburst.
He added: 'They were upset at Millbrook being badmouthed. They said it was a good school and proud to go to it.'
In the 1970s and ‘80s Millbrook was one of the largest schools in Southampton with more than 1,200 pupils. Fred Lowry was the head teacher between 1972 and 1988 after moving from St George’s C of E School.
The 85-year-old, who is now retired and living in Ashurst, Hants, declined to comment on Ms Phillips' accusations.
Ms Phillips was unavailable for comment today.
They could have seen it coming: Fiona previously slated school in her autobiography
Fiona Phillips talked about her 'lack of education' at her secondary school in her biography, Before I Forget, published in 2010…
'I found myself dealing with 12-year-olds who had talked about things I didn’t even know the name of. Girls in the fifth year were pregnant, boys were in borstal, and the school seemed to be a hotbed of carnal curiosity and knowledge,' she wrote.
'I was in the top set for everything, but that didn’t mean much in a school that struggled so much with discipline and lack of ambition. We were supposedly the elite of the school, yet our maths classes consisted of being given an exercise book and told which pages to work on, before the teacher left and returned at the end of the lesson to go through the answers, when she hadn’t explained how to tackle the questions in the first place.
'There wasn’t much point in trying to learn when most of the pupils were set against it and their parents didn’t care.'