Grade inflation would devalue achievements of Covid generation, Education Secretary warns

“Inflating the grades of the Covid generation risks devaluing their exam results and harming their future career prospects, the Education Secretary has said. Writing in The Telegraph, Gavin Williamson said he would refuse to follow Scotland in an about-turn allowing students to be awarded grades predicted by their teachers. On Thursday, thousands of A-level students in England will be given marks calculated by a statistical model which takes into account a range of factors including their performance in earlier tests and previous exam results at their school. However, on Wednesday ministers admitted this will mean that 40 per cent of students are awarded a lower grade than predicted by teachers.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Williamson ‘issued a humiliating apology’ to millions of pupils last night – Daily Mail
  • Exam bosses admit they don’t have plan for appeals process – The Sun
  • School leavers given new hope after A-level chaos – The Times
  • Ministers braced for backlash ‘as England’s teachers despair’ – The Guardian


  • Sturgeon scolded by Davidson over exam fiasco – Daily Express
  • Gibb: children at greater risk at home than at school – The Sun


Gavin Williamson: The system for determining A-level results in England is both robust and fair

“I would like to reassure everyone who is waiting for grades that the system is robust and fair. The grades have been based on what teachers estimated their students would have achieved in exams, because they know their pupils better than anyone. However, there will be variation between how schools and colleges have estimated these grades so we had to make sure that the national picture is not vastly different from previous years by standardising grades. If we didn’t, we would have seen them shoot up, which would devalue the results for the class of 2020 and would clearly not be fair on the classes of 2019 and 2021. But worse than that, it would mean that students this year would lose out twice over, both in their education and their future prospects.” – Daily Telegraph

  • This ‘triple lock’ is just a three-layered pudding of confusion – Calvin Robinson, Daily Mail
  • A ‘triple lock’ on A-level results has only added to the chaos – Nicola Woodcock, The Times


  • Sturgeon has put populism ahead of fairness with her exam grade free-for-all – Unity Howard, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Nick Gibb MP in Comment: Fair grades for A Levels and GCSEs, and congratulations to the students

Sunak issues ‘three Rs rallying call’

“Rishi Sunak issued his own version of the three Rs tonight as he urged Brits to “rally round and fire up” the nation. The Chancellor said now is the time to: RELIGHT the economy, RETURN to work and REOPEN schools. He spoke out as hopes grew of a swift recovery from the worst ever recession, caused by coronavirus. Mr Sunak’s call to arms came as new statistics gave early signs of a bounce-back from the economic shutdown. The country is now officially in recession following two consecutive quarters of economic decline. But June showed signs of recovery — after a dire April and May. Official figures released today revealed the economy grew by 8.7 per cent in June — marking the start of a possible V-shaped return to prosperity. But overall the economy is 17.4 per cent smaller than it was before the crisis started in February.” – The Sun

  • Chancellor vows to put ‘foot on accelerator’ – Daily Express
  • UK economy plunges into deepest recession since records began – The Guardian
  • Longer lockdown drove UK to one of deepest recessions in Europe – FT


  • Government must answer ‘serious questions’ over economy, says Starmer – Daily Telegraph
  • Treasury snubs NHS plea for £1bn to fund 4,000 extra beds – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: “Relight the economy, return to work and reopen schools”. The message from Sunak that the nation needed to hear.

>Yesterday: Mo Metcalf-Fisher in Comment: “Pubs versus schools” doesn’t need to be an either-or scenario in reopening Britain

Cummings moves No 10 staff to ‘heart of Whitehall’

“Boris Johnson’s closest aides, including Dominic Cummings, are to leave 10 Downing Street for new offices on Whitehall in the most ambitious salvo yet in the government’s war on the civil service. From next month the prime minister’s private office, policy unit and other key No 10 staff will work from a Nasa-style mission control centre at 70 Whitehall, currently home to the Cabinet Office, with the aim of imposing the government’s will on the officials with whom it has often clashed. Rooms currently occupied by the Cabinet Office’s economic and domestic affairs secretariat (EDS), the arm of the civil service that co-ordinates the government’s domestic policy across Whitehall, will be rigged out with “co-working” desks and television screens displaying “real time performance data”.” – The Times

  • MPs ask Johnson to clarify aide’s role in defence review – The Guardian

Patel plans an asylum system ‘to send left into meltdown’

“Priti Patel told Tory MPs that the asylum system was “broken” as she promised to introduce laws that would “send the left into meltdown”. The home secretary said that the system was being “exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers” who were doing everything they could to stop the government removing people. The comments were part of a Zoom conference call to discuss ways to overhaul the asylum system. One MP on the call said that Ms Patel criticised “judicial activism”. She is working on a “fair borders bill” to be introduced this year. It is intended to stop people drawing out the asylum application process by making them declare all their grounds for refugee status when they apply, rather than being able to submit new reasons later.” – The Times

  • Calais mayor: Sending Navy into Channel ‘declaration of maritime war’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Ben & Jerry’s clashes with UK home secretary over migrants – FT
  • Asylum seeker removal flight takes off despite last-minute court actions – The Guardian


  • Cops to be given new powers to stop ‘suspected foreign spies and assassins’ – The Sun
  • Senior Met officer defends police who stopped Dawn Butler – The Guardian


  • A few thousand boat people isn’t a crisis – David Aaronovitch, The Times


Sturgeon ‘gains support of voters over Westminster’s coronavirus policies’

“Nicola Sturgeon is gaining credit for British government policies during the coronavirus crisis, a poll for The Times has found. SNP ministers were given positive feedback from Scottish voters for protecting jobs and the economy despite some of the biggest measures coming from the Treasury. The Scottish government has powers to vary important economic levers such as business rates and income tax as well as choosing to deploy hundreds of millions of pounds of its own budget into its enterprise and skills agencies. However, key decision-making in areas such as VAT, national insurance and personal taxation allowances are controlled by Westminster, which also has much wider borrowing powers.” – The Times

  • Westminster declines Holyrood request for post-Brexit Bill grilling – Daily Express

News in Brief:

  • Hypocrisy of ‘devocrats’ like Sturgeon imperils the British economy – Matt Smith, CapX
  • Saying ‘no’ to IndyRef2 is not a strategy for the long term – Alex Massie, The Spectator
  • The proud history of Tory socialism – Giles Fraser, UnHerd
  • A battle with the unions looms over schools – Mutaz Ahmed, Reaction
  • If ‘never again’ means anything, it means standing up to China – Aida Vasquez-Soto, 1828