Even the great and the good are sometimes expelled from school
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The legendary Romantic poet attended Eton College, where he refused to take part in fagging and was mercilessly bullied. Despite giving electric shocks to his tutor and blowing up a tree with gunpowder, he was not actually expelled. That came later, when he was sent down from Oxford for scandalising the place with his atheistic writings.
Nothing clever about the great man’s behaviour. Initially suspected of being ‘retarded’, he was eventually expelled for the effect his bad attitude was having on classmates.
Expelled from Brentwood boarding school school at the age of 13, then sent to borstal two years later, where he ‘had a great time’.
Like father, like daughter. Expelled from an impressive selection of the country’s most expensive schools, usually for drinking, smoking, and ‘doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing with boys that I shouldn’t have been doing’.
Expelled from the prestigious Phillips Academy, although there are differing versions of this. Reasons given include throwing the headmaster (or a groundsman) into a lake, smoking and drinking, low academic performance and insulting the staff.
Expelled from Fairfield Secondary and Higher Grade School for climbing a wall into the girls’ toilets with a friend.
Expelled from the Academy of Art in Madrid for ‘disturbing the peace’ and criticising one of the professors. In his opinion none of the staff was qualified to judge his work.
Expelled aged 15 from Eltham Green, where he truanted regularly. ‘My parents had no idea, because I used to intercept all the teachers’ letters,’ he recalled. ‘In the end they sent around 55 letters, so my mum finally found out I hadn’t been to school for seven weeks.’
‘I was expelled from school for making a pornographic film,’ he said. ‘I was just a young boy in Wisconsin; anything to get out of there.’
Expelled at the age of 10 from Southern Cleveland Elementary School in California, for indecent exposure.
Nothing Earth-shattering: expelled for smoking and truanting.
According to Branson’s own version of events, he was attending Scaitcliffe boarding school when, aged 13, he was caught sneaking out of the bedroom of the headmaster’s 18-year-old daughter: ‘The headmaster rang my dad and said to come and pick me up the next day. So I wrote this suicide note to someone I knew would open it immediately and go straight to the headmaster.’
Meanwhile he went to a nearby cliff-top, at which point the note was found, and he accepted the headmaster’s offer of a beating instead of expulsion.
Kicked out of Northridge Military Academy for hitting a classmate on the head with a tyre.
Expelled from Stanbridge Earls School at the age of 15. He says it was for drug use was the reason, although his father says it was for ‘cutting class and entertaining a girl in his room’.
Famously expelled for piercing her nose… or was she? Her former headmistress, Sylvia Young, says this is a myth, although she was disruptive and did insist on wearing prohibited earrings. ‘I feel sad that Amy thought she’d been expelled,’ said Sylvia. ‘I would never have expelled her.’
The Queen of the bonkbusters was expelled, at 15, from Francis Holland School for truancy, smoking, and selling copies of her own dirty limericks.
When a fellow pupil at John Henry Newman School was attacked by a gang, Lewis was mistakenly identified and expelled. He was later reinstated and received an apology from the authorities.