The government is reportedly planning to back new grammar schools, according to Cabinet papers accidentally shown to cameras in Downing Street. The memo, signed by the Department for Education’s most senior civil servant Jonathan Slater, said Education Secretary Justine Greening planned to launch a consultation into opening new grammars. The blunder emerged when photographer Steve Back, who runs a company called Political Pictures, spotted the document being carried into Number 10. The proposals would increase the number of selective schools for the first time in a generation. Slater warns of problems getting the policy through the House of Lords without measures to “avoid disadvantaging those who don’t get in”.
Plans to open new grammar schools in England appear to have been accidentally caught by a photographer. The document, photographed in Downing Street, proposes expanding current grammars before opening new schools. It then raises doubts whether plans for more selective school places would pass through the House of Lords. A government spokeswoman said it would be “inappropriate to comment on internal government documents”.
Plans for new grammar schools appear to have been accidentally revealed – after an education department official was photographed with a document containing the details. Pictured in Downing Street, it reveals that “the con (consultation) doc says we will open new grammars”. However, it does suggest only, “once we have worked with existing grammars to show how they can be expanded and reformed in ways which avoid disadvantage those who don’t get in”. Grammar schools are state secondaries that select their pupils by setting an entrance exam at age 11.
The Government has drawn up secret plans for a massive expansion of grammar schools, an official document has revealed. The briefing paper setting out the proposals was photographed as an official entered Downing Street. It shows that Education Secretary Justine Greening is planning a consultation on opening a swathe of new grammars. At the weekend Theresa May refused three times to say if she was looking to bring back the selective schools. Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner MP said: “The cat is out of the bag: behind closed doors the Tories are planning a return to the bad old days of grammars, ignoring all the evidence which has told us time and again that they do not aid social mobility.”
Theresa May’s government is drawing up plans to end the ban on new grammar schools and allowing existing ones to expand and reform, according to a document written by the most senior civil servant in the Department for Education. Details of the radical expansion policy, which the Guardian understands could be unveiled within weeks, were revealed after a man was photographed holding a piece of paper outlining the proposal on his way into Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. The note by Jonathan Slater, the permanent secretary at the DfE, talks of a “con doc” – thought to be short for consultation document – that says “we will open new grammars, albeit that they would have to follow various conditions”.
The UK is to begin preliminary talks with Australia about the outline of a future free trade deal between them. Officials will meet twice a year to discuss the parameters of what both sides said they hoped would be an “ambitious and comprehensive” deal. Australia has been earmarked by the UK as its first post-Brexit trade partner. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and his counterpart Steven Ciobo said they shared a “strong political commitment” to trade liberalisation. No agreement can be reached until the UK leaves the EU, which is not expected to happen until 2019 at the earliest depending on the pace of negotiations. Mr Ciobo, on a visit to London to discuss a possible deal, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that if the UK invoked Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in the first half of next year, signalling its intention to leave, then agreement would be at least two-and-a-half years off.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has produced a comedy show dedicated to lampooning and playing up the “threat” of U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump, with no signs that a similar programme about Hillary Clinton will be made. Posting to the BBC Three Facebook page on Monday, the organisation said: “Something’s coming. Maybe it’s Moriarty… Maybe it’s not. Sherlock: An Unpredictable Candidate. Coming soon.” What followed was a 60-second long piece of video that contained various clips of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, randomly interspersed with clips from the Sherlock television programme. It is unclear what is humorous about the mash-up: And the BBC also told a Facebook user from Mexico they were “welcome” to the propaganda being created by using public funds from the United Kingdom. The unofficial Sherlock BBC en Español page reacted to the anti-Trump video: “THANK YOU!!! FROM Mexico with all our love to #Sherlock .”
Patients will be able to diagnose themselves on their smartphones under plans to modernise the health service to be announced today. The new one-stop NHS website will enable patients in England to enter their symptoms online and get tailored advice or a call-back from a health care professional. Under the radical digital shake-up, patients will also be able to find out which hospitals offer the best treatment, book appointments and order prescriptions. The service, which is hoped to be ready by the end of next year, will allow patients to compare how well their local health service performs against others in key areas such as cancer, dementia, diabetes, mental health, learning disabilities and maternity care.
Sick patients will be encouraged to type their symptoms into a website to get an NHS diagnosis under a controversial expansion of the 111 hotline. The web-only ‘triage’ system – to be announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today – will encourage patients to enter their symptoms onto a computer or smartphone. In reply, they will then receive ‘tailored’ advice on a screen from a111 worker or a call-back from a medical professional. But critics said a website can never replace a proper diagnosis by a doctor – and warned patients’ lives may be put at risk. They said a seemingly minor problem can quickly escalate into sepsis or meningitis – and only a trained doctor could spot the signs. The NHS 111 service, which will run the system, has already come under huge criticism for its ‘non-emergency’ telephone service. That service, which was set up with the aim of reducing pressure on hospitals and cutting costs, has been responsible for a string of blunders and fatalities.
Work is about to begin on “a big, new wall” in Calais as the latest attempt to prevent refugees and migrants jumping aboard lorries heading for the Channel port, the UK’s immigration minister has confirmed. Robert Goodwill told MPs on Tuesday that the four-metre high wall was part of a £17m package of joint Anglo-French security measures to tighten precautions at the port. “People are still getting through,” he said. “We have done the fences. Now we are doing the wall,” the new immigration minister told the Commons home affairs committee. Building on the 1km-long wall along the ferry port’s main dual-carriageway approach road, known as the Rocade, is due to start this month. The £1.9m wall will be built in two sections on either side of the road to protect lorries and other vehicles from migrants who have used rocks, shopping trolleys and even tree trunks to try to stop vehicles before climbing aboard.
Britain is to build a huge wall in Calais to try to stop migrants sneaking across the Channel. UK taxpayers will foot the £2million bill for the barrier stretching nearly a mile along the main motorway to the port. Construction will start soon, ministers announced yesterday. The 13ft concrete wall will replace fencing that has failed to stop stowaways targeting lorries. Before Britain’s vote to leave the EU there was a surge in incursions – mostly from the ‘Jungle’ camp near Calais that houses 10,000 migrants. Kate Gibbs of the Road Haulage Association said the wall was a ‘scandalous waste of taxpayers’ cash’ that would simply shift problems farther down the road. ‘Money would be much better spent on boosting security along the approach roads,’ she added. ‘This is being called the Great Wall of Calais but what good will it do? We are telling our drivers not to stop within 150 miles of Calais so they are not targeted by migrants. ‘This will be a tiny concrete alleyway that will serve very little purpose and not provide any security.’
BRITAIN will build a mile-long, 13ft-high wall in Calais, France, to stop migrants getting into the UK. The concrete wall will replace fencing along the main motorway to the port in Calais – which has failed miserably to stop migrants from the nearby “Jungle” camp breaking for the border. Holidaymakers have been warned to beware as roving gangs of masked migrants armed with branches – or even chainsaws – have attacked vehicles approaching the port. British taxpayers will be expected to foot the bill for the £2million construction – despite it being in France. Workmen will begin building the wall – which sounds similar to the barrier Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to build to keep Mexicans out of the US – “soon”. Immigration minister Robert Goodwill said: “The security that we are putting in at the port is being stepped up with better equipment.
BRITAIN will begin work on a Great Wall of Calais to keep out migrants “very soon”, the Immigration Minister said yesterday. Robert Goodwill insisted the £1.9 million concrete barrier first revealed in July would be erected at nearly four metres tall – replacing barbed wire. Ministers are desperate to start work after an explosion in the number of migrants trying to reach the UK before the French clear the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp. Immigration Minister Mr Goodwill told the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee: “The security that we are putting in at the port is being stepped up with better equipment. “We are going to start building this big new wall very soon. We’ve done the fence, now we are doing a wall.”
A year after the Government promised to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees, some local authorities say people are not being processed quickly enough. The head of housing at Liverpool Council, which offered to take 100 refugees but is in the process of receiving just one, told Sky News that the scheme was a “tragic bureaucratic failure”. In September last year then prime minister David Cameron said Britain would take 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years from countries neighbouring Syria such as Jordan and Lebanon. Home Office figures show that in the first nine months of the scheme from October 2015 some 2,646 people were resettled across 118 local authorities.
A TORY MP has challenged Theresa May to mark her pledge to regain control of Britain’s borders by bringing back our “iconic” blue passport. Senior backbencher Michael Fabricant yesterday leaped on The Sun’s campaign as the perfect way for the PM to demonstrate she is ready to deliver. Last week Mrs May made the government’s first commitment on leaving the EU to deliver “controls of the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe.” For a month now, we have called on No10 to reintroduce the true blue document, ditched in 1988 for an EU-approved burgundy-coloured one.
Air passengers in Britain and beyond faced delays on Tuesday after a “Black Lives Matter” protest on a runway halted flights for six hours at London City Airport and a computer glitch hit British Airways in London and the United States. More than 120 flights were canceled, delayed or diverted at City, a few miles east of the Canary Wharf financial district, after nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway. Police said late on Tuesday morning they had arrested all nine and the airline was preparing to resume flights. British Airways said it was taking longer than normal to process customers at a number of airports around the world, including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, and urged passengers to check in online before they reached the airport. The airline, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, apologized to customers.
Black Lives Matter UK, with the “full support” of the U.S. movement, has shut down London City Airport because “environmental inequality is a racist crisis”, demanding more mass migration into Europe. “This action was taken in order to highlight the UK’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally,” declared the group in a statement . “By 2050 there will be 200 million climate refugees. Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis.” “We believe the time is now for a [BLM] movement in the UK to #Shutdown a nationwide crisis of racism and to fight for all black lives,” they add.
The Scottish government will start preparing the legislation required for a new referendum on independence from the United Kingdom in case it is needed, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament on Tuesday. Last week Sturgeon said her party would start a survey to test support for secession, questioning at least two million Scots just as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union. The bill would then be ready for “immediate” introduction if it becomes clear that there was voter support for Scottish independence, Sturgeon said, without giving a timeframe. Polls indicate that a slim majority still prefer remaining a part of the United Kingdom, although many Scots are unhappy about leaving the EU because Scotland itself voted to stay in. “We will consult on a draft referendum Bill so that it is ready for immediate introduction if we conclude that independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland,” she told parliament.
Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a £500m fund to help Scottish businesses as she set out her government’s plans for the next year. Ms Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood that the move was an “exceptional response to an exceptional economic challenge”. She also insisted that education was the “defining mission” of the Scottish government. Proposals to help close the attainment gap were among the 14 bills the Scottish government will introduce. The plans include a Child Poverty Bill, which Ms Sturgeon said was arguably the government’s most important legislation.
Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of placing a “lead weight” on Scotland’s economy after announcing her government will draw up plans for a second independence referendum that are ready for “immediate introduction”. Unveiling her programme for government for the coming year, the First Minister announced a £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme to help companies cope with the fallout of the Brexit vote. She said the three-year scheme represented “an exceptional response to an exceptional economic challenge” but then confirmed she will also consult on a draft Referendum Bill that can be tabled instantly if she concludes independence is Scotland’s best option. But Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, argued that the “biggest single economic lever” Ms Sturgeon could use to boost growth would be to rule out a rerun of the 2014 vote.