This is the view of Simon Binns, a 19-year-old Westminster-based youth worker specialising in sport.
He warned that many boys as young as 10 in the capital are now being tempted towards a life of crime rather than concentrating on getting the qualifications.
Mr Binns told the Edge Learner Forum conference: "Young males are finding it really hard to see that school is a better option for them.
"There is more money for them outside of these institutions. There's a bit more outside on the streets for them. It may not be legal, but it's there, and it's a bit easier than spending six hours a day on reading and writing, to be honest."
Mr Binns combines coaching eight- to 13-year-olds in sports, including football, basketball and table tennis for Westminster council with working with Edge.
He said that much of the crime boys were tempted to dabble in was drug- related, and added: "It's not just the drugs. It's more the money that comes from the whole criminal life made by petty crime.
"Some kids of 10 or 11 are involved in stuff that they should not be involved in.
"It's just peer groups. You have got your group of friends that you have grown up with. If they decide to make that their way of life, you probably will do as well.
"For people of my age, it is accepted now, especially in London, with all the stabbings and the knife crime. You get used to it, and accept it for what it is."