‘Testing time for schools’ and uni places in peril


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Experts have warned that Boris Johnson has just days to get a grip on the “failing” NHS test and trace system if he wants schools to reopen next month, the Metro reports. The prime minister has said the country has a “moral duty” to reopen classes shut since March. But the paper says many scientists believe the move could force England back into lockdown, with “catastrophic” consequences for the hospitality sector.

Daily Telegraph front page

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Schools are drawing up plans to teach pupils on a week-on, week-off basis if there is a resurgence of the coronavirus, reports the Daily Telegraph. It says Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned schools were “losing patience” with the government’s demands to have all children back in school next month, with no official back-up plan for if this was not possible.

The Times front page

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The Times reports the calls by the children’s commissioner for England for pupils and teachers to be routinely tested – a position that is said to set her at odds with the government. Anne Longfield’s remarks were in contrasts to schools minister Nick Gibb, who said the current precautions were sufficient and that the government approach was informed by science.

Daily Mail front page

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In other education news, A-level pupils whose marks are downgraded by computers face missing out on university places while exam boards sift through a “flood of appeals”, says the Daily Mail. Exam boards are expected to lower nearly 40% of the grades provided by teachers’ estimates. It comes after this year’s exams were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Daily Express front page

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In other coronavirus news, Britain is finally defeating the pandemic, according to a “top medic” quoted in the Daily Express. More of the sickest patients are now surviving the virus due to improved treatment, the paper says, while one consultant has even claimed the UK is “almost reaching herd immunity”.

Guardian front page

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Elsewhere, Downing Street is planning to impose targets on police and prosecutors in England and Wales in an attempt to reverse the record decline in rape prosecutions, according to the Guardian. In what the paper calls a “highly unusual” move, the prime minister’s crime and justice taskforce is planning to set targets for police to refer more cases to the Crown Prosecution Service, while the CPS itself has been tasked with prosecuting and bringing more trials.

The i front page

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The i reports that people with type-1 diabetes could live longer, healthier lives after scientists discovered an existing arthritis treatment can delay disease. Clinical tests are said by the paper to have shown the drug suppressed the illness – and a bigger trial is now planned.

Daily Mirror front page

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Music mogul Simon Cowell is pictured on several front pages after he was nearly paralysed following a fall from an electric bike. The Daily Mirror leads on the news, reporting the 60-year-old missed snapping his spinal cord by a “centimetre” and required six hours of surgery.

Daily Star front page

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The Daily Star reports that footballers are being investigated over an image rights scheme which helps avoid top rate tax. According to the paper, HM Revenue & Customs is looking at 246 professionals after the number using it trebled in a year.

The issue of the re-opening of schools in England makes the lead for a number of papers.

The Daily Telegraph highlights the suggestion by the head of the Association of School and College Leaders that pupils should be taught on a “week on, week off” basis to limit numbers if there’s a resurgence of coronavirus.

Geoff Barton tells the paper that schools are “losing patience” with the government’s demands to have all children back, but with no official backup plan if this is not possible.

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The Times reports that the children’s commissioner for England has set herself at odds with the government by calling for pupils and teachers – especially in secondary schools – to be routinely tested for coronavirus.

The paper says Anne Longfield’s remarks are in sharp contrast to those of schools minister Nick Gibb, who believes the present precautions are sufficient.

According to the Daily Mail, A-Level pupils whose marks are downgraded by the exams regulator for England when the results are published this week face missing out on their first choice university places – even if they appeal.

It says those who appeal must be awarded a higher grade by 7 September to get their first choice.

But the paper has learned that exam boards have refused to commit to this timeframe, instead giving themselves 42 days to resolve complaints, by which time the university term will have started.

For its main story, the Guardian says it’s learned that Downing Street is planning a controversial intervention to reverse the record decline in rape prosecutions.

According to the paper, the prime minister’s crime and justice taskforce is planning to set targets for police to refer more rape cases to the Crown Prosecution Service and for prosecutors to bring more cases to trial.

The paper says the CPS is likely to oppose the change for impinging on its independence. The service has in the past set its own targets for different crimes, it adds.

The i highlights what it calls a breakthrough in the treatment of type-1 diabetes – the less common form of the condition.

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It says scientists have discovered that an existing treatment for rheumatoid arthritis can delay progression of the disease by years.

Prof Lucy Walker, of University College London, tells the paper: “We’ve found something new and if it holds up with further tests it’s a new paradigm that could potentially be really important.”

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Finally, the results of a poll to find out who was the best James Bond raises a few eyebrows.

A total of 14,000 fans took part in the survey, organised as a knockout tournament for RadioTimes.com

There’s no surprise who came top.

As the Sun puts it, Sean Connery won a thrilling head-to-head shoot-out.

But the Daily Express says that in a twist that will leave many fans shaken, neither Roger Moore nor Daniel Craig made it into the top three.

Instead, Timothy Dalton was voted second and Pierce Brosnan third.

“We weren’t expecting that, Mr Bond”, the Mail’s headline declares.

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