Sir Bob says head saved his family

Sophie Kirkham

Live8 legend praises 'exceptional' leader for support. Sophie Kirkham reports.

Sir Bob Geldof, the Live8 organiser and political campaigner, has praised the head of his daughters' private primary school for helping them through their family traumas.

The former singer with the Boomtown Rats said that without that support his family might not have survived the "soap opera" of the past decade.

"He's a really, really good guy," he told a conference for new heads.

"You are probably aware of the soap opera part of my life that the tabloids thrive on.When my wife left me and we went into a very public freefall and I was in a panic about my children, this man and his staff were exceptional.

"It's a moot point as to whether my family could have survived the terrible drama of what happened to us... They are doing well academically and they are great kids, but I am not sure we could have all got through it without this person and a few people around him."

His eldest daughter, Fifi Trixibelle, now works for MTV after attending the pound;6,575-a-term Bedgebury school, in Kent, near the family home in Faversham. Peaches, 16, is doing A-levels. Pixie is 14 and Tiger Lily, the daughter of Sir Bob's ex-wife Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence, is eight.

They are at London private schools Sir Bob and Paula Yates split in 1995. She began a relationship with Hutchence, the Australian rock star, who was found dead in a hotel room in 1997. Three years later Ms Yates was also dead, possibly as a result of a drugs overdose.

Sir Bob was speaking at the New Heads conference in London last week, hosted by the National College for School Leadership, He told the audience of 700 recently-appointed headteachers that their responsibilities were "beyond leadership". He said: "A man with four daughters is standing here, and if you fuck up, this country is going nowhere."

The singer reiterated praise for his daughters' primary school head in an interview screened on Teachers' TV last night.

"(He) is clearly one of those visionary-type teachers. He has a moral sense, which you may agree or disagree with, but it absolutely focuses the school," he said.

Sir Bob went on to say that teachers should be allowed to get on with their jobs and not be over-burdened by government-imposed regulations.

He said: "It's really not the state's business to interfere. The state should just back off and let people get on with educating our children.

It's in the interest ultimately of the state."

Sir Bob, who spent nine months teaching English in Spain during his early twenties, said he could not do the job today.

"I certainly could never be a teacher... Like every person watching, like every teacher watching, like every head, I'm sure they were horrible to some of their teachers. And I really regret that - that I was such an idiot to some of them."

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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Sophie Kirkham

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