On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

2nd November 2012 at 00:00

This week: Fiona Phillips

Imagine being so successful and famous that your alma mater invites you back to wow pupils and inspire them to work hard and fulfil their dreams. That's what happened to former GMTV presenter and newspaper columnist Fiona Phillips.

Except Fiona didn't do what's usually expected on such occasions. Instead of talking up her school days, she ripped into them. Lack of discipline in the classroom had made her a "vile" teenager who indulged in a bit of shoplifting and was rude to her mother, she told pupils at the opening of Oasis Academy Lord's Hill in Southampton - which has replaced her old school, Millbrook.

"It was a school rampant with hormones and no discipline, no aspiration and no encouragement," she said. OK, Fiona, we get it. Bad times.

You might be generous and say it's hard to heap too much blame on Ms Phillips for criticising a school that has been replaced by an academy - that is, after all, what our political masters do every day. But the former doyenne of daytime television took it further when she named and shamed her former headteacher, saying he "commanded no respect whatsoever".

Publicly vilifying a man now in his eighties (whom others have since spoken up to defend) is harsh. So, with a keen sense of irony, we send Fiona to the naughty step for making it personal.

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