Newspaper Headlines: Calls to “Sack” Williamson and PHE to “Get Fired”


Before nearly five million GCSEs are awarded this week using a controversial model, the Observer reports that 97% – over 4.6 million scores – will be awarded in England alone by the algorithm developed by the regulator of ‘Ofqual review. More than 280,000 students saw their A-level results downgraded on Thursday, causing widespread anger among schools, colleges and students. Education experts fear that more GCSE scores will be downgraded from A levels, the document says. The government is expected to face new legal challenges regarding its algorithm in a few days, the newspaper adds.

The Sunday Times front page August 16, 2020


Teens and their parents are turning to the courts as disputes over how grades have been assigned to A-level students in England escalate, reports The Sunday Times. Several students and parents are now taking legal action after nearly 40% of grades have been downgraded. Students in large public schools and colleges were the most affected by the emergency grading system, the newspaper added, with students in private schools benefiting the most.

The Sunday Mirror front page August 16, 2020


“Sack our biggest failure” is the headline on the front page of the Sunday Mirror as “furious” MPs call on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to step down over A-levels “fiasco”. Labor has now joined Liberal Democrats in calling on Mr Williamson to resign. Two million teacher-recommended grades are expected to be cut, the newspaper adds.

The front page of the Sunday Express August 16, 2020


Meanwhile, Mr Williamson has vowed to bring the children back to class, saying it is “morally, socially and economically necessary” for them to return in September, the Sunday Express reports. On Monday, a new campaign will be launched in England to persuade parents it is safe for the children to return next month. The main image on the front page is of Prince Charles laying a wreath on the 75th anniversary of the victory over Japan.

The Sunday Telegraph front page August 16, 2020


The government plans to cut Public Health England (PHE) and replace it with a new body early next month, the Sunday Telegraph reports. Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce a merger of the PHE pandemic response work with NHS Test and Trace into a new body called the National Institute for Health Protection, the newspaper adds. The new institute will have tens of thousands of employees and its model is based on the independent German agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

The front page of the Mail on Sunday August 16, 2020


“Priti in the French racist storm” is the headline on the front page of the Sunday Mail. The Interior Minister, the newspaper reports, sparked a “diplomatic dispute” by asserting in a private meeting with conservative MPs that migrants were crossing the Channel to escape prejudice in France. French politicians are said to be angry at these comments. The dispute comes after the highest European judges condemned Paris for the “degrading and inhuman” treatment of asylum seekers, the newspaper added.

The front page of the Sunday People August 16, 2020


Boris Johnson faces a “three-year crisis,” reports the Sunday People, adding that the UK will not recover from the recession until 2023.

The front page of the Daily Star Sunday August 16, 2020


And veteran EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt, who played the character of Ian Beale for the show’s 35-year existence, is leaving the soap opera, according to the Daily Star Sunday. The news will leave fans wondering what his future will be in the drama, the newspaper adds.

The Observer says nearly five million GCSEs – 97% of the total – will be awarded this week just based on the controversial algorithm at the heart of the solid line on A-level results.

According to the analysis shared with the document, teacher rankings will be taken into account, but not teacher rated grades submitted by schools and colleges.

It is estimated that 82% of level A results were calculated by the Ofqual algorithm.

The Sunday Mirror predicts a GCSE “disaster”. He estimates that two million recommended notes will be cut by what he calls a “wacky” computer model.

The Sunday Times predicts that what it describes as “test results chaos” will end in court battles.

He says the dispute over the fairness of the emergency grading system is escalating after many students lose places at major universities.

The document speaks of an expected ‘tsunami’ of complaints about GCSE’s performance – with many young people likely to lose places in sixths and apprenticeship programs.

It points to growing evidence that top-flight students in major public schools and sixth-grade colleges and higher education have been hit hardest by the algorithm, with private school students benefiting the most.

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PA Media


Students take part in protest in Westminster, London, following A-level results ‘fiasco’

The Sunday Express leads with an article by Education Secretary under pressure, Gavin Williamson.

But on the front page, he glosses over the exam controversy, instead highlighting what he calls his “heartfelt” call to get kids back to their classrooms in time for the new term next month. The title of the newspaper is: “Kids Must Come First”.

In his article, Mr Williamson says that a return to school is “morally, socially and economically necessary” – and that the risks of that not happening are “too high to ignore”.

The Mail on Sunday says Home Secretary Priti Patel has sparked a diplomatic row with France – claiming migrants are crossing the Channel to escape a “racist country”.

She allegedly made the comment on a private conference call with Conservative MPs.

According to the Mail, Ms Patel also said the migrants feared torture if they returned to France.

Government sources have strongly denied that the interior minister made the reported remarks. They said she only conveyed what the asylum seekers had said – and viewed the allegations of possible torture as nonsense pushed by activist lawyers.

However, according to the Mail, the comments infuriated French MPs. One is quoted as calling them “hateful” and another as saying: “Madame Patel is not a politician who thinks a lot”.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reports that a specialist team from the Royal Navy has been deployed to help the Border Force slow down the Channel crossings.

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Prince Charles lays wreath at national VJ Day memorial event

A number of the front pages carry photos of services marking the 75th anniversary of VJ Day – the end of World War II.

The Sunday Times and Express both show the Prince of Wales laying a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The Observer features veterans and service men and women participating in the same event.

In the Telegraph, the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, calls for the “forgotten army” of the Far East to be remembered at last.

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