THE government’s education policy is “in tatters”, according to Bolton West MP Julie Hilling.

Ms Hilling questioned Mr Gove following his statement in the House of Commons yesterday morning.

Speaking in parliament, she said: “The headteacher who told me last year that he went to bed in 2012, and woke up in 1956, probably thinks today he’s woken up on Groundhog Day.

“Does the secretary of state not realise the harm he does to young people every time he disparages the GCSEs they work so hard to achieve?

“So what value does he think employers should put on current GCSEs now?”

Mr Gove replied: “I think the real harm occurs when children are at schools where teaching is not of a good quality, and where ambitions and aspirations for those children are insufficiently high.

“One of the problems we have experienced in the past is that employers have said that some qualifications — including those introduced under the last government — do not command confidence.

“That is a tragedy, but today we are playing a part in the ending of it.”

Speaking to The Bolton News, Ms Hilling said the government’s education policy was in tatters following the announcement.

She said: “I have repeatedly urged Michael Gove to listen to heads and teachers who have consistently warned that reforming GCSEs would take education in this country back to the 1950s.

“I am pleased that the government has finally made this u-turn, but I feel that Mr Gove should never have announced his proposals in the way that he did in the first place.

“Mr Gove has caused unnecessary worry to heads, teachers, pupils and parents in my constituency.

“The deeply damaging comments that he has made recently risk devaluing GCSEs, which is utterly unfair to the young people who work so hard to achieve these important qualifications.

“I hope now that he will consult if and when he decides to propose similar radical reforms to our education system.”