Steve August 14, 2020

The Times front page 15 August 2020

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Schools in England will be able to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades for free, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has told The Times, after 40% of A-level results were downgraded from teachers’ predictions. The government is facing mounting criticism over its handling of exams. Mr Williamson said that, by covering the fees, head teachers would not be deterred from making appeals. The move will cost between £8m and £15m and should help to avoid “shocking injustices”, he added.

The Guardian front page 15 August 2020

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Several papers report on holidaymakers’ scramble to return to the UK before the new quarantine measures come into effect on Saturday morning. The Guardian calls it an “exodus” as thousands of travellers battle “chaotic scenes” to make it back home. The paper says Downing Street had originally planned for the rules to come into force on Sunday, but brought it forward to 04:00 BST on Saturday following discussions with devolved administrations. It is understood, the paper says, that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pushed “very firmly” for an earlier deadline.

The Daily Mail front page 15 August 2020

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“Get out of France now… or you’ll miss out on school,” is the headline on the front page of the Daily Mail. The paper reports the “warning” for parents as the new quarantine rules mean that thousands of children could miss the start of the school year, with many classes returning on 2 September.

The i weekend front page 15 August

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A picture of people standing in long queues at an airport leads the front page of the i weekend newspaper. “British tourists flee France” as flights sell out in minutes, trains are packed and extra ferry services are introduced, the paper adds. Some 160,000 holidaymakers see their plans thrown into “chaos”, the paper says.

The FT Weekend front page 15 August

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As new quarantine measures set in, bookings for staycation breaks have “rocketed”, the FT Weekend reports. Traffic to some holiday cottage websites have spiked in 24 hours as people adapt plans they may have had to travel abroad. Private jet reservations have also seen a spike in numbers as travellers respond to the Saturday morning quarantine deadline.

The Daily Telegraph 15 August 2020

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Testing could end the “quarantine roulette”, The Daily Telegraph reports. The paper cites minutes from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) two months ago, which show that it asked Public Health England to consider a double testing policy that would involve travellers being checked at the border and again five to eight days later. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, called on the government to adopt a more regional and “nuanced” approach.

The Daily Express front page 15 August 2020

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And Boris Johnson has said that the government is going “all out” to secure a coronavirus vaccine, saying he will do everything possible to back scientists, according to the Daily Express’ front page. The lead image on the front of the paper – and The Daily Telegraph – is of the Princess Royal as she celebrates her 70th birthday.

The Daily Star front page 15 August 2020

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Meanwhile, “Scream cakes” is the headline on the front page of the Daily Star, which reports that hit Channel 4 show the Great British Bake Off is due to be filmed in a hotel that is “haunted”.

Many of the papers describe a “scramble” among British holidaymakers in France to get back to the UK before Saturday’s 04:00 BST quarantine deadline.

The Guardian says ministers “rushed forward” the cut-off point by 24 hours, following pressure from Holyrood and the other devolved administrations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is said to have offered “no resistance” when Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pushed “very firmly” for an earlier deadline.

“Get out of France now… or you’ll miss school” is the Daily Mail’s headline.

It says pupils who fail to make it back to the UK before Tuesday night will still be in self-isolation when the majority of schools in England go back on 2 September.

But the paper says many families will have no choice but to stay in France because of high prices and limited capacity on ferries, flights and Eurotunnel.

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The Sun reports that the education secretary is fighting to hang onto his job.

No 10 is said to be “livid” with Gavin Williamson after he presided over what the paper describes as a “humiliating string of school disasters”.

The Sun foresees the end of his cabinet career if next week’s GCSE results end up in an “A-levels-style disaster”.

The Guardian predicts exactly that – reporting that two million GCSE grades recommended by teachers are set to be downgraded.

Education researchers tell the paper they expect between 35% and 40% of predicted grades to be forced down by the exam regulator.

The Guardian says pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are set to be hit harder than their A-level counterparts because the proportion taking GCSEs is higher.

In the Daily Mail, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist Andy Haldane argues for “cautious optimism” as the country recovers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

He says economic activity has been rising more quickly than anyone expected – at around 1% of GDP per week for the past three months.

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The Mail welcomes his assessment – but says a giant obstacle remains: fear.

The paper’s leader column worries that too few workers are back in the office, and accuses the civil service and big corporations of “institutional indolence” by not encouraging more staff to return. Workers of Britain, the Mail declares, your country needs you.

Graduates from the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy have been told to be “more unconventional” as they adapt to new domains of warfare, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is said to have told new Army officers that under the Integrated Defence and Security review – being led by the prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings – they would be expected to engage and compete more, in cyber and in space.

The butter-fingered fielders of village cricket can look forward to their dropped catches being beamed over the internet, reports the Times, under new plans to revive the amateur game.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is apparently subsidising equipment that will allow clubs to produce television-style broadcasts complete with graphics showing statistics and scores.

It may not be pretty, says the Times’ editorial, but it’s only fair the ECB stumps up cash to broadcast cricket at its rawest, to a new generation.

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