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The papers: Pupils ‘months behind’ and Rashford’s rallying cry

The papers: Pupils 'months behind' and Rashford's rallying cry thumbnail

By BBC NewsStaffPublishedduration3 hours agoimage captionAs schools in England and Wales return for the autumn term, the Metro quotes a senior Conservative MP as saying there is just a 50% chance that next year’s A-level and GCSE exams will go ahead. The paper says pupils face a “monumental challenge to catch up” as a result…

By BBC News


3 hours ago

image captionAs schools in England and Wales return for the autumn term, the Metro quotes a senior Conservative MP as saying there is just a 50% chance that next year’s A-level and GCSE exams will go ahead. The paper says pupils face a “monumental challenge to catch up” as a result of school closures during the coronavirus lockdown, with a National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) survey suggesting most youngsters are three months behind in their studies.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph claims Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is considering plans to delay A-level and GCSE exams “with the aim of creating more teaching time”. Sources tell the paper the delay could mean pupils take exams in June or July, meaning summer holidays would not be affected – something, the Telegraph says, Mr Williamson is “emphatic” about.
image captionThe i says the NFER survey of 3,000 teachers suggests boys are further behind their studies than girls. It says opposition MPs are urging Mr Williamson to explain how he will make up for the “damage already done” to students this year, while head teachers are calling on ministers to drop plans to fine parents if children do not return to school.
image captionAlso drawing on figures from the NFER study, the Guardian’s lead story claims the gap between some pupils and their wealthier peers has widened by 46% amid the disruption to their education during lockdown. The researchers say urgent support must be targeted at schools in areas of high deprivation. Meanwhile, the splash image features footballer Marcus Rashford, who has written to MPs with what the paper calls a “rallying cry” to tackle food poverty in the UK.
image captionAnd cash-strapped head teachers will have to find extra cash to foot the bill to keep children safe at school, the Daily Mirror reports. The paper claims hygiene and social distancing measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus have cost schools £216m. It adds that unions want the government to cover these costs.
image captionIn what it brands as a “school crackdown”, the Daily Star says children will be suspended from school if they make inappropriate jokes about coronavirus or target other students with “deliberate or malicious coughs or sneezes”, as part of strict new Covid-19 rules. “Cough and you are off!” the headline warns.
image captionMoving away from schools, the Daily Mail brings news of a “dramatic new weapon in the war on diabetes”. It says the NHS is introducing a low-calorie “soup-and-shake” diet which is, the paper claims, proven to send Type 2 diabetes into remission. The paper quotes one of the health service’s clinical directors as saying there has never been a more important time for people to lose weight.
image captionBeneath its lead story on a promising month for the world’s stock markets, the Financial Times analyses the prime minister’s appointment of a “member of his inner circle” as the new leader of the civil service. Simon Case, who was drafted in temporarily as No 10’s permanent secretary in May, will replace Mark Sedwill as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service. The paper says it’s a sign Boris Johnson wants a “trusted figure” to help reform how the state is run.
image captionThe Times says Mr Case is a “free-thinking ally” of the PM who will “shake up the civil service”. But its front page is dominated by a report on tens of thousands of British holidaymakers who are in “limbo” as they wait to hear if quarantine measures will be imposed on people returning to the UK from Portugal, just two weeks after it was put on the quarantine exemption list. Portugal had 21.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past week – just above the threshold for the British government to consider imposing the measures, the paper points out.
image captionMeanwhile, the Daily Express reports the incoming director general of the BBC is being pressured to reverse a “cruel” move to scrap free TV licences for the over-75. Tim Davie faces an “almighty backlash” from campaigners over the £157.50 fee, on his first day in the job.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

tells the Daily Telegraph that this week’s full reopening of schools in England and Wales brings “fresh hope” after a challenging few months.

He says ensuring “no child is left behind” is a “national priority” and urges the “whole nation to get behind them”.

The Daily Mirror says Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is demanding Mr Williamson set out a “proper plan” to protect pupils and ensure they can recover their lost education.

The Guardian and the Daily Star reveal children face being sent home from school if they breach strict new “coronavirus red lines”, which include deliberately coughing or sneezing on someone, or even pretending to as a joke. The Star is highly critical of the idea of suspending children when they’ve “already missed too much valuable teaching time”.

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image captionChildren are facing new coronavirus rules as they return to school

The Financial Times regards the return to schools as a “crucial political test” for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who it says is facing “growing criticism that he has lost his grip”.

The paper says the prime minister needs the reopening to go smoothly to pave the way for workers to go back to their offices.

The Times has “disappointing news” for those who’ve been enjoying home working: they have been putting in about an hour a day more than before lockdown.

“Fears that people are lounging about in their pyjamas and getting little done may be unfounded,” the paper says.

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image captionLots of people work longer hours when they’re at home, a report suggests

It highlights a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research which found that home workers spend an average of 49 minutes longer at their desks – and attend more meetings.

The Independent digital newspaper says the government spent more than £120m fighting disability benefit claims in the past two years, but lost three-quarters of appeals at tribunal. Labour and disability campaigners express alarm at the amount of public money being used to fight such cases.

The Department for Work and Pensions responds that complaints about the way it assesses claims dropped by a quarter over that period, and insists it’s “committed to helping people get the support they are entitled to”.

As the BBC’s new director general, Tim Davie, takes over, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror warn that he faces a pensioners’ revolt unless he brings back free TV licences for the over-75s.

The Silver Voices campaign group says many pensioners plan to stop paying or spoil their cheques in protest – and urges Mr Davie to work with the government to find a compromise.

One option he’s said by the Guardian to be considering is a Swedish-style tax, which would be reduced for those on lower incomes.

image captionTim Davie is to become the 17th director general in the corporation’s 98-year history

Hackers are reported to be targeting virtual festivals, which have been “a godsend” for music lovers during lockdown. The Guardian says fraudsters are setting up fake pages to charge users to access live streams that should be free to view.

And the Sun offers a luxury gift idea that’s not to be sniffed at: a “huge designer candle that smells of the River Thames near Dagenham”. The item – with its additional notes of “red bricks and nettles” – is on sale at the department store Selfridges for £450.

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