Image caption As A-level students complain of being failed by the government’s marking system, the Daily Telegraph’s splash focuses on claims by the exam regulator that some teachers submitted “implausibly high” predicted grades. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) told the paper that while most teachers entered accurate estimates, some put forward wildly high grades, citing one centre “which submitted all A* and A grades students in two subjects, where previously there had been normal distribution”. Sources close to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said there would be no Scottish-style U-turn on downgraded results, but one backbencher told the paper that he should “hang his head in shame and resign”.
Image caption “A grade clowns” is the Daily Star’s front page take on the A-level results, with the paper mischievously depicting Mr Williamson wearing a dunce hat and Boris Johnson a red nose; while standing in front of a blackboard of lines reading “I must do better”.
Image caption The i also leads on calls for “unfair” A-level results to be reviewed; while also pointing out that “record numbers” of disadvantaged pupils have been accepted on to university courses. Also on its front page, the paper promotes its special report on symptoms of coronavirus that won’t go away.
Image caption The Guardian’s splash leads with a warning from Britain’s equalities watchdog that it will intervene in the outcry over the handling of A-level results after students from disadvantaged backgrounds appeared to be hit hardest under the government’s calculated marking system. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) told the paper it would consider all its powers “so that ethnic minority and disabled children are treated fairly”. Meanwhile, the front page also reports on a “historic” deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish full diplomatic ties, under which Israel would “suspend” its plans to annex parts of the Palestinian territories. But the Guardian says “cracks” have quickly appeared in the Washington brokered deal, after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was “no change” to his annexation plans, while the UAE insisted Israel “immediately” halt those plans.
Image caption Like other papers, the Financial Times leads on the release of A-level results and ministers facing an “angry backlash” from pupils and teachers. The front page also reports on a “historic” peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), brokered by the United States. The three countries said in a statement that the “breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East” but the paper reports the move is expected to anger Palestinians.
Image caption “A big fat F for fiasco” is how the Metro describes the handling of the A-level results. Meanwhile, its main story reports on Mr Johnson “lifting the locks” on most of the remaining restrictions in England, as close contact beauty treatments, small wedding receptions and live indoor performances will be able to resume in England from Saturday. Previously paused plans to reopen venues such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, soft play centres and casinos will also go ahead.
Image caption The Daily Express’s splash says the prime minister has upped the UK’s virus battle with a “ruthless double dose” of measures to avoid a second spike. They include tougher fines for organisers of illegal raves and those who refuse to wear face masks – as well France being added to the government’s travel quarantine list after a surge in cases there. The move requires anyone who arrives in the UK after 04:00 BST on Saturday to self-isolate for 14 days.
Image caption The government’s decision to add France to its quarantine list has prompted a “scramble” among British holidaymakers to book trains, ferries and flights home before the new rules kick in, according to the Times’ front page lead. The Channel Tunnel service has said its services are “absolutely chocca”, while cross-channel ferries and European airlines are already operating reduced services, the paper says. It warns that the scale of demand could see people forced to stay on their holidays and self-isolate when they return, leading to children missing their first week of the new school term. The Times also reports a “revolt” by Tory MPs over the “shambolic” handling of A-level results. As data showed the government’s marking system had hit some of the most disadvantaged students hardest, the paper says many Tory MPs have voiced fears it could jeopardise their hold on seats taken from Labour in northern England.
Image caption The Daily Mail reports that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex bought their new California home from a Russian oligarch locked in a legal battle with his ex-wife who alleges he threatened to chop her up. Sergey Grishin, who the paper says sold Harry and Meghan the nine-bedroom mansion at a “knockdown price”, denies his ex-wife’s allegations. His spokesman said he had been the “unfortunate victim of fraud” perpetrated by his former wife, and had filed a counter-legal claim against her. Representatives for the Sussexes did not respond to the Mail’s requests for comment.

The anger surrounding yesterday’s A-level results is reflected across the papers.

‘Grade A Chaos’

The Daily Star depicts Boris Johnson and the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, as “A Grade Clowns”, in front of a blackboard which has the line “I must do better” written on it several times.

The Metro grades the government “A Big Fat F for Fiasco”; the i newspaper believes Mr Williamson – and his Scottish counterpart, John Swinney – should stand in the corner, wearing a dunce’s hat; while the Sun regards the whole affair as “Grade A Chaos”.

The Daily Express sympathises with a generation whose “schooling was derailed by the pandemic” and who will “fear their future has now been dealt a mighty blow”.

The Daily Mail accuses Gavin Williamson of failing to do his homework – and suggests “expulsion from the cabinet” may be “the least he deserves”.

Image copyright EPA

The Daily Mirror says the government “is wide open to charges of championing the privileged few over the mistreated many” – and says the marking down of so many students “means that instead of levelling pupils up, they are held back”.

The Guardian says the Equality and Human Rights Commission is considering using all its powers to intervene, and ensure disadvantaged children are treated fairly – in particular, those who are disabled or from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Teachers’ estimates ‘implausibly high’

The paper adds that students are being urged to join a possible legal action against the exam regulator Ofqual and the Department for Education.

In the Daily Telegraph, Ofqual accuses some teachers of submitting “implausibly high” predicted grades.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Students at Norwich school observe social distancing while receiving their results

A government source points to figures which suggest that using teachers’ “optimistic” predictions would have meant almost twice as many pupils being awarded A*s than previous years – and asks: “do teachers really think this year’s cohort at the top end is nearly twice as bright?”

But amid the disappointment, the Times reports that a record number of disadvantaged students have won places at university. In England, twenty-thousand eighteen-year-olds from poorer backgrounds have been accepted, amounting to almost nineteen per cent of their age group.

According to the Times, a former Pizza Hut delivery driver – who began a fitness clothing firm in his parents’ garage while at university – is about to become Britain’s richest self-made person under thirty.

Ben Francis’ company, Gymshark, is said to have been valued at more than a-billion pounds in an investment deal by a private equity firm. It says the agreement would put his personal wealth on a par with the singer, Ed Sheeran, and the footballer, Gareth Bale.

Image copyright David Fitzgerald/Getty Images
Image caption He Knows No Fear, left, became the the longest-price winner in the history of Irish or British racing

When the racehorse He Knows No Fear was given odds of 300-1 on his second outing at Leopardstown, the Daily Telegraph says he was so unfancied that not even his owner bothered to bet on him.

The paper says the property billionaire Luke Comer was despondent after the horse “floundered on his debut” and failed to even attend the next race.

But he was said to be “thrilled” when the rank outsider beat the favourite by a nose to become the longest-priced winner in the history of the sport in Britain and Ireland.

‘French Hols Hell’

As travellers to France learn they will need to quarantine on their return from tomorrow, the Daily Express says the measure is part of a “ruthless” bid by Boris Johnson to prevent a second spike of coronavirus.

But the Daily Mail warns that “the curbs will heap fresh misery on airlines and tour operators and signal a death knell for foreign holidays this summer”.

The Daily Mirror says the estimated half-a-million British nationals thought to be visiting France are now facing a “French Hols Hell”.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption France is the second-most-visited country for UK citizens

The Times predicts “a scramble to book trains, ferries and flights home” before tomorrow’s four am deadline.

The Sun reveals that seats on a British Airways flight from Charles De Gaulle airport to Heathrow quadrupled in price after the government’s announcement.

Fans ‘lifeblood’ of football

The Sun also welcomes the news that football fans will be allowed to return to stadiums next month – describing them as “the lifeblood of the game” whose absence has been keenly felt.

It says spectators will be made to sign up to a new code of behaviour – and “will likely be urged not to chant or shout for fear of spreading the virus”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Football matches have been played behind closed doors to empty stands following the outbreak

Firefighters attend more floods than fires

Figures quoted in the Daily Telegraph suggest firefighters now spend more time attending road accidents and floods than putting out fires.

The number of callouts to “non-fire incidents” has risen by more than a third in five years. The Fire Brigades Union says there’s been a “significant increase” in flooding emergencies, leaving its members “battling the sharp end of climate change”.

Taylor’s love song to the Lake District

For generations, artists have been inspired by the beauty of the Lake District. Now, the Times reveals, the pop star Taylor Swift has fallen for its charms.

A bonus track on her new album is said to be dedicated to the national park, which she visited in 2012.

The Lakes features the lyrics “Take me to the lakes where all the poets went to die/ Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry”. It even, says the paper, includes a pun about Wordsworth.

Image copyright Getty Images

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