Image caption “Boosting exam grades ‘would harm Generation Covid for life'” is the warning by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who has ruled out following Scotland’s lead in allowing students to be awarded grades predicted by their teachers. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he warns that using teachers’ predicted grades risks devaluing students’ exam results and harming their future career prospects. A-level students in England will on Thursday be given calculated grades after exams were cancelled due to the pandemic; but in a last-minute change, will be allowed to appeal against their marks on the basis of mock exam results. The front page also features a devastating aerial picture from the scene of the train derailment near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, in which three people died.
Image caption The Guardian’s lead on A-level results claims that No 10 is bracing itself for a “backlash” and fears a replay of the protests seen in Scotland last week after nearly 125,000 students’ results were downgraded during moderation. The paper says headteachers across England have “expressed despair” at the human cost of the calculated grades system, with one in the north-east saying 26 out of 39 students at their school had their results downgraded compared with teacher assessments.
Image caption The Daily Mail’s lead story says Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was forced to give a “humiliating” apology to students awaiting their A-level results as fears over “chaos” in the appeals process grow. The paper carries warnings that the appeals system will be “overwhelmed” by large numbers of pupils asking to change their grades which could throw the university admissions process “into paralysis” with just weeks to go before the new term starts.
Image caption The Times takes a more positive tone with the news that universities say they will “soften” their normal entry grades in light of exams being halted by the pandemic. The paper says the move has “thrown a lifeline” to more than 100,000 pupils who will have their A-level results downgraded by regulators. Also on its front page, the paper reports that the UK has seen its longest stretch of temperatures above 34C since the 1960s, as Britons have been kept awake by a run of “tropical nights” – when temperatures remain above 20C.
Image caption The i’s report quotes one sixth-form head teacher who says the government’s moderation system has “steamrollered over students’ futures”, as the paper reports No 10’s “last-minute concessions” have created “confusion” for students and universities. The front page also features a shocking photograph of carriages piled on top of one another from the scene of the train derailment in Aberdeenshire.
Image caption The Financial Times reports on official figures that show Britain has collapsed into its largest recession on record after the coronavirus lockdown caused a 20.4% contraction between April and June. The UK economy suffered a bigger slump than any other major European economy in the second quarter, with Labour claiming the government’s handling of the pandemic had contributed to “the worst recession in Europe”.
Image caption The Daily Express claims a front page exclusive as it leads on a vow by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “put the foot on the accelerator” to drive economic recovery after the UK sank into the deepest recession on record.
Image caption “The Great British Stink Off” is the headline on the Daily Star’s front page, which says water firms are pleading with people to cut their usage after the “staycation heatwave” hit supplies. Avoiding taking showers is one way of saving water, but the paper jokes people risk emulating the hygienically challenged comic characters Wayne and Waynetta Slob.

Dramatic pictures of the train derailment in Aberdeenshire are on most front pages.

Image caption Photographs from the scene showed damaged carriages lying across the track

The Daily Telegraph says the investigation is set to examine why the service was allowed to depart as scheduled following a night of thunderstorms and torrential rain.

According to The Times, an official report published last month said Network Rail’s plans to address climate change and extreme weather were “not keeping up with the frequency and severity of these events”.

Several papers lead with the row about the way exam grades in England will be decided.

Ministers braced for grades ‘backlash’

“Ministers braced for backlash as teachers despair at A-levels fiasco”, is the Guardian’s headline. It says pressure is mounting on the government to institute a fairer system or face fury from students.

If students were hoping that ministers would follow Scotland and allow them to keep the grades predicted by their teachers, then Education Secretary Gavin Williamson makes clear in the Daily Telegraph that such a move would not be fair to the classes of 2019 and 2021.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The Scottish government performed a U-turn on its calculated grades system following an outcry over some results being downgraded

But The Times has better news for students – saying universities are ready to rip up their admissions rules for this year. According to the paper, they have reassured ministers that they will “soften” the grades they normally require for entry to take account of the extraordinary circumstances that have led to exams being cancelled.

New home for the Sussexes

Elsewhere in the paper however, pupils are warned that the scramble for university places in clearing may be even more chaotic than usual this year as the operation will be run largely from the homes of admissions staff because social distancing rules have made it impossible to work from campus.

There’s widespread interest in the Santa Barbara area of California on the Pacific coast – with the papers reporting that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have bought their first home there.

According to the Sun, they and their son, Archie, made the move from Los Angeles 100 miles away in secret last month.

The Daily Express says with its white sandy beaches, palm-studded rolling hills and Spanish hacienda-style mansions, Santa Barbara is home to some of America’s biggest stars, seeking a respite from Hollywood.

Image copyright GlobalFinPrint

Finally, sharks may have a reputation as cold-hearted killers – but a study has found they are actually rather good at making and keeping friends.

The “i” reports that researchers tracked 41 grey reef sharks in the Pacific Ocean and found they were highly community-minded, forming social networks built on long-lasting friendships.

According to the paper, they spent their mornings together as large groups, dispersing throughout the day and into the night and reconvening with the same group members the following day.

But The Daily Telegraph strikes a note of caution – suggesting the camaraderie goes only so far. They don’t call to each other or show affection or raise their young, it says.

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