Simon Cowell has laid into Education Secretary Michael Gove by labelling the man in charge of British children's education "stupid."

X Factor mogul Cowell hit back after being told by Gove it was "irresponsible" of him to tell youngsters during a US radio interview: "the secret is to be useless at school."

During a radio interview in America, multi-millionaire Cowell claimed it did not matter that he had performed poorly at school because of how successful his career had been.

Cowell's unusual career advice for children drew an angry response from Gove, but the pop Svengali insisted the Coalition cabinet minister – who is tipped as a future Prime Minster - was "crazy."

Speaking of Gove's declamation, Cowell said: "He didn't bother to call, he didn't want to hear my side of the story and, stupidly, he didn't see the positive side of what I was trying to say which is that not everybody who leaves school is going to get great qualifications, or maybe they just don't have that kind of brain.

"But that doesn't mean that they should be ruled out, or not given a chance... so, if anything, I thought he was irresponsible, because he was basically saying, if you're not qualified we're not going to back you, and it's like, how crazy are you for saying that?"

Gove has spent his tenure as Education Secretary since 2010 railing against low standards in schools in Britain and overseeing a shift to core subjects. His reforms have caused clashes with teaching unions over pay and conditions.

Responding to Cowell's advice about being "useless at school," Gove said: "This is an irresponsible and stupid thing to say.

"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."