Newspaper headlines: School reopening a 'national priority'

Sunday Times front page

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Boris Johnson is to warn parents that keeping children at home is a far greater threat to their wellbeing than coronavirus, the Sunday Times reports. The paper says the prime minister has ordered a PR campaign to ensure schools reopen on time in September after being presented evidence that personal and social harm to children is more persuasive to parents than fears about pupils falling behind academically.

Sunday Express front page

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The prime minister has warned there must be “no excuses” for children not being back in classrooms next month, says the Sunday Express. The paper reports that Mr Johnson – who is said to be personally overseeing the reopening of schools – made the demand in a series of meetings with ministers and government officials last week.

Sunday Mail

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For the Mail on Sunday, the PM is “throwing down the gauntlet” to teaching unions it says are blocking the return of pupils by insisting the country has a “moral duty” to open schools. In an article for the paper, Mr Johnson declares that a resumption of normal teaching is now his “national priority”.

Sunday Mirror front page

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But a former government chief scientific adviser has predicted the UK could be heading for full lockdown by the end of the month, the Sunday Mirror reports. Sir David King told the paper the UK needed an effective test and trace system by September, otherwise schools opening fully again would “put us right back”.

Sunday People front page

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“Pubs on last orders” is the front-page headline on the Sunday People. The paper says bars have been linked to outbreaks, with a photo showing customers apparently not socially distancing, amid pleas for people to follow coronavirus rules to keep venues open.

Sunday Telegraph front page

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The Sunday Telegraph reports that France is demanding the UK pay £30m to stem the flow of migrants being smuggled into Britain by criminal gangs. The UK is drawing up a plan to deploy naval vessels, drones and even spy planes to stop migrants making landfall on the south coast of England. However, any deal requires France’s agreement, and it has emerged Paris is requesting the money to fund patrols on the beaches of northern France, says the Telegraph.

Daily Star front page

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And finally, the Daily Star Sunday reports that notorious inmate Charles Bronson has forced prison bosses into a U-turn after they took his favourite food, fish and chips, off the dinner menu.

The Mail on Sunday praises Boris Johnson for promising within its pages to make sure children return to school in England next month.

The paper’s leader sees the resumption of classes as “the priming of the pumps that will get the great engine of our economy and society moving again”.

The Mail argues that the prime minister must overcome the fears – expressed by some scientists and teachers’ unions – about the transmission of Covid-19.

“This is his test,” it concludes. “The moment when he shows his mettle and his determination.”

The debate about school re-openings also features on the front of the Sunday Times and the Sunday Express.

The Sunday Mirror warns that Britain could be heading for a second full coronavirus lockdown.

A former government chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, says the only way to avoid it is to improve the test and trace system.

This, he argues, must be achieved before schools in England re-open.

Sir David is quoted as saying: “The government has a month to deal with the level of infectivity as it stands now. Re-opening schools should be a priority, but we believe we are nowhere near the point where it can be done safely”.

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PA Media

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Boris Johnson is praised by the Mail on Sunday

The front of the Sunday People has a large photograph of a pint of beer being pulled, with the headline “pubs on last orders”.

The paper has carried out an investigation which it says “indicates more than half of our boozers are failing to record contact details of drinkers”.

The People says 11 out of the 20 pubs its reporters visited, in four UK cities, did not record customers’ details, as they are supposed to under the coronavirus test and trace scheme.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that the banks could be facing a second wave of PPI claims, having already paid around £38bn to people wrongly sold the insurance.

The new claims are based around the amount of commission that banks received from insurance firms for getting customers to sign up, without the client being told.

According to the papers, in some cases this was as high as 97% percent of the total fee.

The paper’s leader concludes that “the sharp practices of the banks have again been exposed, and so has their greed”.

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The Sunday Telegraph’s lead headline says: “French ask for £30m to police the Channel“.

It reports the money would be for extra patrols on the country’s northern beaches, to stop migrants setting out in small boats to reach the UK.

A Home Office source tells the paper ministers have yet to decide how to respond to the demand.

In its leader, the Telegraph accuses the French of “plainly failing” to police the sea routes to Britain, but it goes on to suggest that “perhaps the solution lies in much closer cooperation” with Paris.

Under the headline “the interceptor”, the Sun focuses on a former Royal Marine commander who will coordinate the efforts to reduce the number of migrants crossing the English Channel.

Dan O’Mahoney is, according to the paper, “an expert in ship-to-ship operations”, who served in Kosovo and Iraq.

The Sun welcomes his appointment by Home Secretary Priti Patel, concluding that: “If anyone can find a way of stopping this tide of human misery, while safeguarding lives, surely Dan can.”

In an interview with the Observer, the outgoing head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, David Isaac, warns that the bitter debate about transgender rights could damage the country if it continues.

Some women’s groups oppose changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which would allow trans people to change their birth certificate more easily, to reflect their new identity.

Mr Isaac is quoted saying: “We have to acknowledge there are lots of difficult issues in relation to women-only spaces, but shouting at each other doesn’t help anyone.”

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Saturday’s victory by England against Pakistan is hailed as “a marvellous advert for test cricket”

Finally, Sir Geoff Boycott hails Saturday’s victory by England against Pakistan as “a marvellous advert for test cricket”.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Geoff in particular praises Chris Woakes and Jos Butler, whose batting partnership in the First Test at Old Trafford, in his view, “won the match”.

“Pakistan tried over the wicket, around the wicket, bouncers,” writes Sir Geoff.

“It made no difference. Once the scoreboard starts whirring around and momentum is with the batsmen, it is very difficult to stop.”

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