What the papers say – August 18

Reaction to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s major U-turn over GCSE and A-level grades in England leads the nation’s papers.

The Financial Times reports pupils’ results have been restored to grades predicted by their teachers, a move The Independent quotes Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer describing as a “screeching U-turn”.

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The i and The Guardian describe the move as a “humiliating climbdown” as Metro says the policy shift is due to “pupil power”.

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Mr Williamson has “blamed the exam regulator” Ofqual for the “results chaos”, reports The Daily Telegraph.

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The Daily Express says the result is a “victory for common sense”, though The Times warns there will be a “scramble for university places” for tens of thousands of students “still facing doubt over their futures”.

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“University admissions were plunged into chaos” by the policy shift, according to the Daily Mail, which says the episode represents “another fine mess” from the Government.

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Sir Keir appears again, this time on the front of the Daily Mirror where he says “this is no way to run a country”.

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And the Daily Star asks Boris Johnson to “sack the clown” in reference to Mr Williamson, saying the Education Secretary had “caused untold worry to a generation of schoolkids” with his “utter incompetence”.