Boris’s U-turn defence

Is Boris Johnson’s government jumping from one crisis to the next or is No. 10’s agenda progressing roughly as planned? It depends who you ask. After a difficult few weeks, there are plenty of Tory MPs who believe it’s the former. Many of whom don’t even feel the need to keep their grievances anonymous.  Charles Walker MP recently used an interview to complain that it was becoming ‘increasingly difficult’ for Tory MPs to defend government policy: ‘too often it looks like this government licks its finger and sticks it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing’. His colleague Bernard Jenkin MP made a similar observation – saying a pattern appears to

The forgotten victims of the deflated A-level grades

A few weeks ago, I spoke on The Spectator’s podcast about my A-Level results. My story in short: I lost my dream place at UCL to study medicine (my conditional offer was: A*AA) after being downgraded by the algorithm to AABB. As the daughter of a single mother, in a low income household, I’m not exactly the sort of person expected to score top grades (especially not by the now-defunct algorithm). However, with a run of 9s and A*s in my GCSEs, I proved I could beat the odds once, and, had I sat the 2020 exams, I am confident I would have beaten the odds again. But the virus

Will the next U-turn be on face masks at work?

There’s a new trend emerging when it comes to Covid-19 policy: where Scotland leads, England follows. In recent weeks, decisions taken by Nicola Sturgeon have – eventually – been adopted by the UK government for England: first, the U-turn on how A-level and GCSE results would be attributed, and today another U-turn on face masks in schools. When Scotland announced face masks would be made mandatory for pupils earlier in the week, the government remained adamant that this would not be required in English schools. But within days, the advice quite substantially changed, now requiring secondary school students in local lockdown areas to wear them in the corridors and communal areas. The

Meet the students left in limbo by the A-level U-turn

Gavin Williamson’s A-level U-turn may have quietened the protestors but it has only added to the confusion. The education secretary’s change of heart to allow students their teacher predicted grades, rather than those generated by an algorithm, means there could be an extra 60,000 students now entitled to a place at their first-choice university – and universities could be contractually obliged to accept them. But will there be enough places? When pupils originally received their results on 13 August, universities (not assuming a government U-turn was on the cards) started sorting through the offers they had made to students, accepting and rejecting some, and offering new places to others. But only four