10/09/2013 05:00 BST | Updated 10/09/2013 05:01 BST

Brian Cox: Students Should Continue Education Until 21

Professor Brian Cox said British pupils should have to continue their education until they are 21.

Famous TV physicist Professor Brian Cox has weighed in on the school leaving age argument, saying students should have to continue their education until they are 21.

The Wonders Of The Universe presenter said Britain had a superior position in science and engineering which should be exploited.

The professor told the Radio Times that he would keep people in education until they are 21 and that there should be compulsory tuition in the country's scientific, industrial and philosophical heritage.

The particle physicist told the Radio Times: "40% of people go into higher education now. What if you double that? Including tuition fees, it would cost about £21 billion.

"That's on a total government spend of £720 billion. How many Utopian visions are affordable? Well, this one is."

He said: "Maybe we don't notice it but we're in a world-leading position, with a science and engineering base that's been built up over 400 years. And I honestly believe that, with visionary expansion, science and technology could transform our economy."

The Stargazing Live presenter said that Britain could be on the verge of another Golden Age and added: "The idea that there's nothing left to discover is nonsense."

He added: "We're in a democracy and quite rightly public policy should be democratically decided, but everybody needs to at least understand what it means to make scientific statements. I'm not saying that you have to be a scientist or an expert on everything, but you have to understand what weight to give the peer-reviewed scientific consensus. Otherwise you just get uninformed reaction."