During an interview with NBC yesterday, the ‘The X Factor’ judge said: “Listen, if I can get him out at 10 to come and work for me then I would.”
Cowell left school aged 16 with GCE O Levels in English Language and Literature and Sociology, and strongly believes that skipping further education is one of the biggest reasons behind his successful career.
”I was better off out of school than I was in,” the 59-year-old continued. “But I didn’t have that major stress about homework, because I would just throw it away. A healthy, happy kid is more important than an over-educated, stressed kid.”
Not one to shy away from controversy, he also added that he doesn’t believe in homework.
“I saw a documentary recently where apparently the most academic kids in the world now are from Finland,” he added. “The reason is they stopped homework and the education minister said there is way too much stress on kids. They have to be kids, they have to enjoy themselves and enjoy school.”
Cowell’s comments soon sparked a debate on Twitter with a number of social media users praising the father-of-one for his views.
“I agree with the sentiment that a happy and healthy kid is better than a well-educated, stressed kid,” one wrote.
Another agreed, adding [sic]: “School isn’t the right place for all children because ‘one size fits all schooling’ is wrong... square pegs round holes.”
I think @SimonCowell is getting way too much grief regarding his comments on schooling. I agree with the sentiment that a happy and healthy kid is better than a well-educated stressed kid. I’m sure he was exaggurating about pulling him out of school at 10 yrs old! #teamsimon
— Mia Scott (@miajscott) May 29, 2019
@SimonCowell I ❤️ your honesty.
School isn’t the right place for all children because ‘one size fits all schooling’ is wrong ... square pegs round holes.
Children are not fulfilling their potential - schools try to mould them into something they’re not.
Me? Teachers pet!
— Nuttiest Nut in the Nuthouse (@NNuthouse) May 29, 2019
Your thoughts? @SimonCowell's comments on #education. I get some of what he says. I left school at 16, got my academic quals later in life when I was driven. There is a huge #stress for kids today to be #academic. #apprenticeships and work exp suits other more #ukedchat #dyslexia
— Georgina Smith (@DysCodeBreakers) May 29, 2019
While others highlighted that school is a safe place for a number of children who come from families who would struggle to provide safety and structure during the week.
“Undermining the depth of classroom education and school work is an uninspiring lecture by BGT boss Simon Cowell for children from working class families who rely on the school structure for meals, friendship, and the social connections they build on later in life,” one wrote.
Undermining the depth of classroom education and school work is an uninspiring lecture by BGT boss Simon cowell for children from working class families who rely on the school structure for meals, friendship, and the social connections they build on later in life.#Withdrawal @10?
— Henry (@harryhal25) May 29, 2019
Simon Cowell's child has Simon Cowell money he can leave school makes no difference.
— linda finn (@lfinns) May 29, 2019
In light of Cowell’s divisive comments, Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said: "It’s really important that someone like him sets a good example. Many children from lower incomes and disadvantaged backgrounds depend on school.”
“The school is the place that gives them some comfort, support, friendships and, even meals,” he continued. “Not everyone can be like Simon Cowell. I think he’s got to be very careful to not encourage kids the wrong way.”
But it’s not the first time the music executive has spoken out about his views on education.
Back in November 2016, he told BBC Radio 2: “I don’t understand why you would want to torture someone to be somewhere they don’t want to be but actually want to go out into the real world and make a living.”
Despite his desire to bring Eric out of school early, Cowell has claimed that he will “100% encourage him” to finish aged 16.
In England, children are permitted to stay in school until the last Friday of June if they will turn 16 by the end of the summer holidays.
Post-school, teenagers are required to either stay in full-time education at a college or to start an apprenticeship.
Otherwise, school leavers must spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering while in part-time education or training.