Michael Gove has branded media mogul Simon Cowell as “irresponsible and stupid” for the comments he made about it being better to be “useless and get lucky” than work hard at school.
The education secretary was responding to a statement made by the multimillionaire creator of the X Factor in which he suggested it was not worth striving to do your best at school.
Mr Cowell, who is believed to be worth around £200m, said: “I didn't work hard when I was at school. I left at 16 and I didn't have any qualifications. I was useless. The secret is to be useless at school and then get lucky.”
The comments were made to a US radio station called Z100, and they prompted an angry outburst from Mr Gove.
“This is an irresponsible and stupid thing to say,” he said in response. “Teachers strive every day to ensure children understand the importance of learning, hard work and discipline. Simon Cowell’s comments undermine their efforts.
“The truth is that only a tiny fraction of people get lucky. For everybody else, it’s all about hard work and that starts with hard work at school. Celebrities like Mr Cowell should encourage education, not rubbish it.”