We teachers sell the line that the door to success in the future is opened with education. It is true that education can lead to success, however, this is not always true, as some of these famous people will tell you!

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp left school at the age of 14 when he was given a guitar.  He was determined to become a rock legend.  He became a legend, of course, just on the movie screen.  He is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and has reached the peak of his career!

Sir Alan Sugar

This is starting to look really bad for formal education! Alan Sugar left school at the age of 16 with no qualifications.  He claims to have learned his trade from the bottom up – which is clear when you watch The Apprentice.  Learning comes in many different forms and he learnt through graft.

Cheryl Cole

Cheryl, from Girls Aloud and X Factor fame, on the other hand, was quite the handful at school and left school with hardly any qualifications.  She seems to have made it work – and is a much gentler, kinder person now it would seem!

Imagination, creativity, thinking differently, seeing education from a school as irrelevant, wanting to pursue a dream – these seem to be conclusions to be drawn.  Amazing people didn’t fit in to school and still went on to astronomical success.  Gives hope to all our young people and maybe gives us a chance to view some of our students a little differently.


The magician disappeared out of school at 12 – an impressive magic trick some of our youngsters would like to emulate, I am sure.  When you have his imagination, who needs formal education?

Albert Einstein

Einstein was pretty vocal about his dislike of formal education.  His teachers thought he was mentally retarded when he was at school and called him a poor student.  He was dyslexic and struggled to communicate within the formal restraints of German schooling.  He became a lifelong visiting professor to a university in the Netherlands and a tenured professor at Princeton.  So much for the teachers who said he was retarded… oops!