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Fiona Phillips: Why I ranted at opening ceremony
10:41am Sunday 28th October 2012 in News
THE TV star who launched into an angry rant over the education she received at her former school when she was the guest speaker at the opening ceremony of a £16m academy in Southampton has spoken out for the first time over the row.
Speaking in her column in a national newspaper, Fiona Phillips stood by her awkward tirade, which she delivered in front of a packed hall full of students and teachers, when she was the guest speaker at the Oasis Academy Lord's Hill school. The 51-year-old said her education in the 1970s at the then Millbrook School was bad and expressed no regrets. The presenter said she urged the students to "grasp every opportunity given to them by the talented, dedicated teachers they now have". And she even pledged to go back to the Southampton school. She said: "On Tuesday I went back to my old school in Southampton and, according to some newspapers, delivered a "rant" on how bad it had been. "Well it was. That's why, under Tony Blair's academy system, set up to take over failing schools and turn them around, it was finally closed down in 2008 after decades of failure." She added: "I wanted to be a doctor and was asked if I'd thought of hairdressing. "These students are being told they can achieve anything they want to. "I shall be visiting them to make sure they do!"
The Daily Echo first reported the shock speech at the ceremony when she slammed her school, which used to be on the same site, saying it had crushed her aspirations and left her with just one O-level. She said the school was “rampant with hormone and no discipline” and even described then headmaster Fred Lowry- now 85- as a man “who commanded no respect whatsoever.”