Newspaper headlines: Back-to-school ‘chaos’ and ‘Prem ace’s Paris trip’

The Daily Telegraph 16 May 2020

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Teaching unions ought to “stop squabbling and agree a staggered” return to the classroom, the Daily Telegraph reports the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield as saying. It says there is a “stand-off” between unions and the government over coronavirus concerns. The paper adds Boris Johnson has “ruled out austerity” in the country’s recovery from the virus during a call with Tory MPs.

Daily Mirror 16 May 2020

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The government’s back-to-school plan – which would see primary schools in England reopen for some years no earlier than 1 June – is in “chaos”, according to the Daily Mirror. The paper says Mr Johnson “faces a revolt” against his tentative reopening plans – and that ministers have “failed to reassure teachers” it is safe to do so.

i weekend 16 May 2020

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It is “turmoil” according to the i weekend, which reports the findings of its poll of parents showing 56% would be willing to send their children back to the classroom next month. Liverpool is one city region saying it will ignore government advice on the 1 June reopening date, the paper adds.

The Guardian 16 May 2020

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The Guardian reports concerns the reopening plan is “too dangerous”, according to the British Medical Association. The doctors’ union is reported as saying in a letter that “we cannot risk a second spike” of the virus.

The Times 16 May 2020

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But some schools will defy unions and reopen next month despite the concerns, the Times reports. The paper says England’s biggest primary school chains will be ready to reopen at the start of June, if allowed.

The Sun 16 May 2020

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A Premier League star has allegedly broken coronavirus lockdown rules in two countries by jetting from the UK to Paris to host a party with friends, the Sun claims. The paper’s exclusive says the multi-millionaire, whom it does not name, chartered a private plane for the trip.

FT Weekend 16 May 2020

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Britons are being urged to binge on strawberries amid fears of a glut of summer fruits this summer, according to the FT Weekend. The paper says peak picking season in June and July could leave farmers with tons of the sweet treats with nowhere to go after the cancellation of events such as Wimbledon.

Daily Mail 16 May 2020

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The chief executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, tells the Daily Mail hospital admissions for coronavirus have halved since the pandemic’s peak. Sir Simon writes in the paper that the country is “not yet out of the woods” – as admissions fall by around 2,000 a week.

Daily Express 16 May 2020

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The Daily Express predicts “15m stir-crazy” drivers will hit the roads during their first weekend of “lockdown freedom” in England as they travel to open spaces. Meanwhile, builders have returned to Buckingham Palace, the paper adds.

Daily Star 16 May 2020

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“Make me a soaper star,” is the Daily Star’s headline as it reports Coronation Street actor Jack P Shepherd – known for his role as David Platt – as saying he may quit the programme if he stops getting “juicy storylines”.

Most of Saturday’s papers speculate on the likelihood of schools reopening to more pupils next month.

For the Daily Mirror, the plans are “in chaos” and “on the verge of collapse”. The paper says the Labour-run Liverpool City Council is leading a revolt against the government’s proposed restart date of 1 June, after ministers and scientific advisers failed to convince unions it was safe to do so during a virtual meeting on Friday.

The Guardian says union leaders were left with “more questions than answers” after the meeting, which some described as “confusing and chaotic” – around 50 people and organisations took part.

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Schools in Belgium have reopened with distancing measures in place

The Daily Telegraph says ministers are “incensed” that the biggest teaching union – the National Education Union – is opposed to the school reopening plan.

One government source suggests to the paper the union is putting “ideology” ahead of the interests of children.

In its editorial, the Telegraph urges Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer to use his influence to change the position of unions and what it describes as the “militants in Liverpool”.

The paper says the poorest will be hit hardest if their children are denied proper schooling for months and calls for a “concerted cross-party effort” to end the lockdown and get them back in the classroom.

Falling admissions

“A glimmer of good news” is offered by the Daily Mail courtesy of Sir Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

Writing in the paper, he says hospital admissions for coronavirus have halved since the peak of the pandemic – with just over 9,000 patients being treated each day.

He makes clear “we’re not out of the woods yet” but says the NHS will be moving “heaven and earth” to restart services for non-coronavirus patients who need support.

Sir Simon also urges people not to return to the heavy drinking and disorderly behaviour which all too often crippled accident and emergency departments before the crisis.

‘Boy’s club’

The Times reports that more women than ever have joined the exclusive ranks of the Sunday Times Rich List.

The paper says the list has always been predominantly a “boy’s club”, but that 150 women worth more than £120m each have made their mark this year.

The Tetra-pak heiress Kirsten Rausing is named as the richest woman – with an estimated fortune of more than £12bn.

But the “high fives” should be put on hold, the Times says, as it points out the gender pay gap is even more acute among the “mind bogglingly wealthy” than the wider population.

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The Sun offers a glimpse of what a visit to your local could look like in the not too distant future. It’s been to a pub in Buckinghamshire, which claims to have found a safe way of reopening during the pandemic.

The paper explains that a trial scheme at the Betsey Wynne has seen a one-way system introduced for anyone entering and leaving the pub. Boozers sit at tables two metres apart, separated by perspex screens, and order their food and drink via their mobile phones – having browsed disposable menus.

The pub’s owners are to present the ideas to the Cabinet Office – and say they could be ready to reopen properly within three weeks.

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