Williamson pledges no ‘shocking injustices’ in A-Level results

“Every school in England will be able to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades free of charge, the education secretary has said. Gavin Williamson told The Times that the government would cover the fees to ensure that head teachers were not deterred from making appeals. He said that the move, which will cost between £8 million and £15 million, will help to avoid “shocking injustices”, where schools fail to take action on behalf of pupils. Exam boards initially charge schools between £9.50 and £25 per pupil for each appeal, but this can rise to as much as £150 per grade for more contentious cases and schools can pass this cost on to parents. The fee is refunded if the appeal is successful.” – The Times

  • Education Secretary ‘fighting to cling on to his job’ after A Levels meltdown – The Sun
  • ‘Only three per cent’ of staff at DfE headquarters were in work on results day – Daily Mail


  • Exam appeals made free amid fears of ‘bigger disaster’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Head teachers predict a shambles for GCSEs – The Times
  • Thousands of schools to defy union ‘scaremongering’ and welcome children back – Daily Mail


  • ‘In Scotland there were no checks… it degrades every single exam result’ – Interview, The Times


Sarah Vine: A final betrayal of disadvantaged children hit hardest by lockdown

“Perhaps understandably, the university for which my friend’s daughter was holding a conditional place is refusing to budge, even though she is just one estimated grade off her offer. And that’s because for every pupil for whom the Computer Said No, some will have achieved the grades required. Indeed, as the Government points out, the marks have actually improved overall, year on year. So why the universal despair felt by parents and pupils? Because when you drill down into the results, a pattern emerges. The ‘standardisation’ models used to ensure a fair assessment by teachers of potential performance — the Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs), the most likely grade a student would have achieved if exams had gone ahead — actually turn out to be a cruel and pretty blunt instrument.” – Daily Mail

  • Results chaos will have lasting impact on class of 2021 – Frederick Studemann, FT
  • Pupils are victims of a farce Williamson had five months to prevent – Laura McInerney, The Guardian

>Yesterday: John Bald in Local Government: The lack of merit in A-level grading shows a misplaced belief in the power of statistical modelling

Increase in infections has ‘levelled off’, so lockdown to be eased again

“The increase in coronavirus infections has “levelled off” so the lockdown can be eased again and more venues can reopen, the Government has said. Indoor theatre performances, casinos, bowling alleys and ice skating rinks will be able to throw their doors open again tomorrow after a relaxation of measures was paused last month. The current rate of infections in the UK is 18.5 cases in every 100,000 people. The number of new cases has slowly climbed above 1,000 a day over the last week – but officials have said the overall rate is “levelling off”… Plans to reopen indoor theatre and music performances, casinos, bowling alleys and ice rinks were paused a day before they were scheduled to have restrictions relaxed on August 1. But they will now be able to open from tomorrow – and beauty salons will be able to offer “close contact” treatments such as eye threading and facials.” – The Sun

  • Public Health England became ‘scapegoat of political fever’ – The Times
  • Overseas aid budget is to be spent on protecting Britain’s supermarket supply chains – Daily Express
  • Virus has exposed extent of slavery in UK, says Duncan Smith – Daily Telegraph
  • Covid shows urgent need for devolved healthcare in England, says cross-party inquiry – The Guardian


  • Covid revealed sickness at the heart of Britain – Tom McTague, The Times
  • Today’s leaders have much to learn from the Forgotten Army’s victory – General Sir Nick Carter, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Ryan Henson and Katherine Mulhern in Comment: We must maintain Britain’s reputation as an international development superpower

Sunak urged to help travel industry…

“Travel companies are facing “three winters”, an MP warned on Friday as 220 businesses wrote to the Chancellor to urge him to save the industry. In a letter seen by The Telegraph, the firms called on Rishi Sunak to save “hundreds of thousands” of jobs after France, the second most popular holiday destination for Britons, was struck off the UK’s “travel corridor” list after a surge in coronavirus cases. The group of businesses, under the umbrella Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), said a “total lack of understanding of the travel industry” by the Government and a “complete lack” of consultation had created a “ghastly perfect storm” for the sector. The holiday firms are asking the Chancellor for a six-month extension to the furlough scheme for the travel industry as a “minimum” requirement.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sector ‘on brink of collapse’ as fresh quarantine rules effectively cancel summer – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Conservative Party should give a warm welcome to Hong Kongers arriving in the UK

…as Shapps gives wrong day for start of France quarantine rules

“With hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers nervously hanging on his every word, it is fair to expect the transport secretary to have a firm grasp of the details when announcing France would be removed from the UK’s travel corridor list. But Grant Shapps sowed confusion on Thursday night by apparently giving out the wrong information, suggesting the quarantine measures would be coming into force on Sunday when, in fact, they are doing so 20 hours earlier. Shapps said during a TV interview that people arriving in the UK from France would have to isolate for 14 days from Sunday, but the move is actually coming into force at 4am on Saturday. Meanwhile, in a swiftly deleted tweet referencing the imposition of the measures, Shapps declared at 10.45pm on Thursday: “It’s Saturday at 4am, meaning that anyone returning on Sunday onwards will need to quarantine.”” – The Guardian

  • Sturgeon ‘forced Johnson into earlier France quarantine’ – The Times
  • End ‘quarantine roulette’, Government told – Daily Telegraph
  • French ‘vow to force self-isolation in retaliation’ – The Sun
  • Rules fuel demand for private jets and staycations – FT


  • We can no longer escape from the necessity of borders – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • This lapdog cabinet is the weakest in a century – Max Hastings, The Times


  • Decision to remove France from the list of ‘safe travel’ countries is necessary – The Times

Surge in house prices and sales after Sunak slashes stamp duty

“Property sales are up by 20 per cent and average asking prices have risen by £10,000 in the four weeks since a cut in stamp duty, according to Bank of England data. Despite confirmation that the country is now in the depths of recession, average asking prices are £30,000 higher and thousands more sales are being agreed each week than before the lockdown from March 27 to May 13. However, analysts believe the rise is a bubble, and the true effects of the economic crash are yet to arrive. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, raised the threshold for paying stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland on July 8. That was followed by similar moves in Scotland and Wales.” – The Times

  • Economy on course for rapid recovery from coronavirus crisis, predicts Bank of England chief – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Julian Brazier in Comment: How tackling the causes of rising demand would help the Government solve the housing crisis

Belarus: Europe’s ‘last dictator’ in a brutal fight for survival

“Viktor is one of thousands of Belarusians who have been subjected to state-administered brutality this week, as Mr Lukashenko, dubbed Europe’s last dictator for his relentless repression of his opponents, has scrambled to put down the most serious challenge he has faced in his 26 years in charge of the 9.5m-strong eastern European nation… In a week of horrific violence, Mr Lukashenko has done his utmost to prevent that reordering being completed. Almost 7,000 people have been detained, hundreds have been injured, and at least two protesters have died. Security services have used rubber bullets, stun grenades, and water cannons with abandon. Journalists have been targeted. Even people not taking part in protests have been rounded up, beaten, and arrested.” – FT

News in Brief:

  • The extraordinary journey of the Revolutionary Communist Party – Oliver Kamm, CapX
  • Lukashenko clings on – Kapil Komireddi, The Critic
  • What price is too high in the war against Covid? – George Bridges, The Spectator
  • The end of secularism is nigh – Tom Holland, UnHerd
  • When Poland spared Europe a Soviet invasion – Ben Sixmith, Site