Newspaper headlines: Exams U-turn after 'Williamson caves in'

By BBC News

  • Published
Gavin Williamson in his Department for Education officeImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Gavin Williamson is facing calls to resign over his handling of A-level results

A "humiliating climbdown" is how the "I" describes the government's decision to change the way A-level and GCSE grades are awarded.

Online, the Independent says what happened was a fiasco of the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson's making. But it also says the decision calls into question Boris Johnson's judgement. U-turns, it says, are becoming all too common.

The Financial Times says the climbdown is "one of a catalogue of government reversals in recent months".

The Guardian prints a list of what it describes as "forced policy reversals" during the pandemic - among them, the contact tracing app, school meal vouchers and the reopening of schools.

Writing in the Daily Mirror, the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, says the Tories' handling of the exam results sums up their "incompetent" handling of Covid-19.

The government, he argues, was too slow into lockdown, too slow to protect care homes and too slow to provide personal protective equipment for key workers. "This is no way to run a country", he concludes.

In the Daily Telegraph the former Conservative leader William Hague is more sympathetic. He argues everyone in government has made mistakes, but admits there was a danger that a failure to question assumptions had almost led to another poll tax moment for his party.

The Times says universities have responded with fury at being left to sort out the "mess" created by the government's decision.

Huffpost UK warns universities - which are already at capacity with accepted places - could have to scrap offers and re-run the entire offer and clearing system.

The Guardian's website carried live coverage of the Democratic National Convention in the US. The paper said speeches by Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama revealed how the climate crisis has been drowned out by the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn, and threats to a fair election.

The Daily Mail says the former first lady "did not mince words" and gave "her harshest assessment yet" of Donald Trump when she said he was "clearly in over his head". The Chicago Tribune called her words "blistering".

Media caption,

Michelle Obama campaigned against Donald Trump in the 2020 election

A trend for rewilding areas of the Lake District, coupled with a rise in farms becoming holiday lets, has led to a huge decline in ancient flocks of Herdwick sheep, according to a story in the Times.

Numbers for the breed are getting so low there's concern there aren't enough to maintain hefting - where flocks stay on areas of upland without the need for fences. Natural England tells the paper a significant number of fells in the region are in "unfavourable condition" due to inappropriate levels of grazing.

Smartphones can tell when a user is tipsy and could soon be used to warn people against potentially "risky behaviour", the Sun reports. Researchers at Stanford University in California have found motion sensors in modern phones can spot the changes in the way someone walks after having even a small amount of alcohol. They hope to use this to set up alerts to stop people undertaking dangerous behaviour like driving under the influence.