Clown' Gavin Williamson is savaged by British press over exams 'farce'

‘Clown’ Gavin Williamson is savaged by the British press over A-level and GCSE exams ‘farce’ with calls for him to be sacked as students start scramble for university places

Gavin Williamson was today savaged over the A-level and GCSE exams ‘farce’ by the British press which called for the Education Secretary to be sacked and described him as a ‘clown’.

The Daily Mail used the headline ‘Another fine mess’, with a cartoon of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mr Williamson as Laurel and Hardy, saying it was a ‘humiliating climbdown’ for the Education Secretary.

Politics expert Tim Bale said the last time a front page mocked up a PM and a high-profile minister as the duo with ‘Another Fine Mess’ as the headline was John Major and Norman Lamont after Black Wednesday in 1992.

The Daily Star published a mock advertisement for the Education Secretary, saying: ‘Are you a moron who couldn’t organise a booze up in a brewery?’ along with the hashtag #PromotedBeyondHisCompetence.

The Times told how Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary at the Department for Education, could be ousted over the chaos – but Mr Johnson has ‘no intention’ of sacking Mr Williamson and ‘expressed confidence’ in him.

Meanwhile the Guardian said the decision ‘followed days of mounting anger among Conservative MPs and alarm among students’, adding that the climbdown will overturn 2.3million A-level grades.

The Telegraph went in on how Mr Williamson blamed Ofqual for the chaos, and that his announcement on the dramatic U-turn yesterday ‘came after 24 hours of mounting pressure from Tory backbenchers’.

The Sun gave the Government an F grade for Farce, saying that A = Anger, B = Balls-Up, C = Chaos, D = Dunces, E = Errors and U = U-turn. The newspaper also told how yesterday’s U-turn followed an ‘outpouring of fury’.

The Express called the U-turn a ‘victory for common sense’ and said it followed a ”deafening outcry’. The newspaper also said youngsters were ‘relieved’ by the decision and described it as a ‘dramatic turnaround’.

It comes as a major U-turn by the Government will see tens of thousands of A-level students in England receive increased grades, with Mr Williamson apologising for the distress caused by the debacle.

Following criticism from students and headteachers and complaints from dozens of Tory MPs, grades will now be based on teachers’ assessments rather than a controversial algorithm devised by regulator Ofqual.

The PM and Mr Williamson had previously defended the ‘robust’ system, which saw almost 40 per cent of grades reduced from teachers’ predictions. The change will also apply to GCSE results in England on Thursday.

DAILY MAIL: The Mail used the headline ‘Another fine mess’, with a cartoon of Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson as comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. The newspaper said the Education Secretary had carried out a ‘humiliating climbdown’ yesterday

DAILY STAR: The Star published a mock advertisement for the Education Secretary, saying: ‘Are you a moron who couldn’t organise a booze up in a brewery?’ along with the hashtag #PromotedBeyondHisCompetence in reference to Mr Williamson

THE TIMES: The Times told how Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary at the Department for Education, could be ousted over the chaos – but Boris Johnson has ‘no intention’ of sacking Gavin Williamson and ‘expressed confidence’ in him

THE GUARDIAN: The Guardian said the decision ‘followed days of mounting anger among Conservative MPs and alarm among students’, adding that the climbdown will overturn 2.3million A-level grades but universities now ‘face admissions chaos’

DAILY TELEGRAPH: The Telegraph went in on how Gavin Williamson blamed Ofqual for the A-level chaos, and that his announcement on the dramatic U-turn yesterday ‘came after 24 hours of mounting pressure from Tory backbenchers’

THE SUN: The Sun gave the Government an F grade for Farce, saying that A = Anger, B = Balls-Up, C = Chaos, D = Dunces, E = Errors and U = U-turn. They also described yesterday’s decision as a ‘screeching U-turn’ that followed an ‘outpouring of fury’






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DAILY EXPRESS: The Express called the U-turn a ‘victory for common sense’ and said it followed a ‘deafening outcry’. The newspaper also said youngsters were ‘relieved’ by the decision and described it as a ‘dramatic turnaround’

DAILY MIRROR: The Mirror led on Sir Keir Starmer’s comments that it was ‘no way to run a country’ following ‘numerous Tory debacles’ during the coronavirus pandemic. It added the Government had put ‘thousands of youngsters through hell’

i: The i newspaper told how Gavin Williamson had ‘caved in’ over the A-levels fiasco – describing it as a ‘humiliating climbdown’ – and used a photograph of students celebrating the U-turn outside the Department for Education in London

FINANCIAL TIMES: The FT said the U-turn was ‘one of a catalogue of government reversals in recent months’, following policy changes over school meals and forcing migrant care workers and NHS staff to pay a surcharge to use the health service

INDEPENDENT: The Independent reported how Gavin Williamson had ‘bowed to pressure from pupils, parents and other ministers’, with Sir Keir Starmer saying it was a ‘screeching U-turn’. It also used a picture of students celebrating the U-turn

METRO: The Metro said the Government’s reversal had been caused by ‘pupil power’ and quoted Gavin Williamson’s previous comments that there would be ‘no change, no U-turn’. It used a photo of a student protesting outside his constituency office

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