Michel Roux Jr: Children should not be forced into further education

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Michel Roux Jr has called for less-academic students to be "split up" from peers and pushed towards apprenticeships from as young as 12.

Michel, who left school at 16 to begin an apprenticeship as a chef, said that carpenters, plumbers and craftsmen were always needed as he urged a revamp of the curriculum.

Michel Roux Jr
Michel Roux Jr warned off pressuring students into further education (Ian West/PA)

He told the Press Association: "I believe kids at 12 or 13 already know where they want to go and some kids are just not academics, like me.

"I think we should try to find out at that young age what kids are good at and split them up, not force them into further education, not force them into somewhere they ultimately won't be interested and not do well.

"We end up with thousands and thousands of young boys and girls going to uni, going into further education with massive debts of £20-30,000 that they may or may not pay and a degree in, say, economic history.

"Maybe you become a politician or journalist. But how many jobs are there? Very few. For me, it's just wrong, the whole system is wrong."

Michel Roux Jr
Michel, pictured with daughter Emily and father Albert, left school at 16 (Tim Goode/EMPICS Sport)

Michel also called on schools to teach cookery as part of the curriculum.

He said that "knowledge and respect and values... have been lost over the last few generations" as family units fail to pass on traditional cooking skills.

"Just basic skills: Teach them five, six recipes and basic hygienic skills and where food comes from," he recommended for schools.

Talking about Jamie Oliver's sugar tax, he slammed schools for selling sugary drinks and sweets to pupils.

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver campaigned successfully for a sugar tax on sugary drinks (Ian West/PA)

"Let's stop feeding our children sugar. They shouldn't be selling it to you at school, that's wrong too."

He said of the tax: "I'm not convinced that's the way forward but something has to be done to get the message out there (about the dangers of sugar)."

Michel's film series The Craftsmen's Dinner with The Balvenie whisky can be found at www.youtube.com/TheCraftsmensDinner.