Only recently Ed Miliband’s wife Justine was outed as a school rebel.

Apparently in those days she’d have been far too cool to be have been seen dead with Ed. Now, of course, she’s a successful barrister who is married to the labour leader.


Were the signs of future achievement there from early on or did she manage to turn her troublemaking ways round?

She confessed that as a pupil she jumped out of a window at school to avoid being caught wearing lipstick. She was also given detention for wearing a purple coat instead of the uniform black one.

But neither of these misdemeanours has held Mrs Miliband back. 

Elsewhere, footballer Ashley Cole’s school reports surfaced fairly recently. The player – who is undeniably talented on the pitch – however, has faced a barrage of criticism for his behaviour off it.

The volatile Chelsea player has had several brushes with the law and was in the public eye for cheating on his then wife Cheryl. At school his teachers said he was “disruptive, distracted and foul-mouthed” according to one newspaper.

Meanwhile, before Hollywood superstar Robert Pattinson had turned into a vampire he was in trouble at school. According to reports he was expelled at the age of 12. “I was quite bad. I never ever did my homework,” he said.

Singer Lily Allen was also unceremoniously ejected from school long before she found stardom. She admits it was for “doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing with boys that I shouldn’t have been doing at that young age. Smoking cigarettes, drinking”.

So perhaps trouble at school doesn’t always signal a disastrous future, just something of a rough patch in the classroom.

But it can be difficult to know if you can relax in the knowledge that they will end up in a successful marriage and at the top of their game professionally, or start worrying that it’s a sign that something is going wrong?

From a parent’s point of view, it can be quite hard to learn that your child is veering off the straight and narrow.

This is particularly so if you know your son or daughter to be confident, bright and exuberant. You many feel the school has misunderstood their personality.

The first course of action is to talk to them and find out what your child thinks is going on. Don’t criticise or blame, try to listen without judgement.

Then go and talk to the school. Try not to take their criticism personally, it won’t help anyone.

The chances are they want to resolve a problem as much as you do and the teacher can help shine a light on what might be going wrong.

Perhaps there’s a friendship or bullying issue or some concerns about an event at home. Maybe your child is worrying about something unnecessarily or struggling with some other problem.

A little understanding can go a very long way.

If you feel there may be some underlying problem that can’t be resolved between home and school, it might be time to consider outside help. Your GP could refer you to a child psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor.

However, if your child has simply been breaking the rules they were well aware of, or otherwise overstepping the mark, then they must take responsibly and accept any punishment. It could be an important lesson.

While it may simply be your child has been testing the limits of authority, the label ‘troublemaker’ isn’t a terribly helpful one to be saddled with.

If it’s possible to find a way to avoid future rule breaking – whatever the reason for it – your son or daughter will benefit in the long run.

A recent study showed that almost half of parents of secondary school aged children had to talk to school staff about their son or daughter at some point, so you are not alone.

In most cases, with a little communication and the right attitude, troubles are solved before they’ve really taken hold.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.