UK coronavirus live: pupils head back to school as MPs return to work | World news





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07:30

Good morning

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s UK live blog. I’ll be taking you through the next few hours, before handing over to the usual custodian; Andrew Sparrow.

Education debacle continues to dog ministers

The coronavirus lockdown widened the gap between pupils in England from poorer backgrounds and their wealthier peers by 46%, according to the National Foundation for Educational Research, which has released research on the day hundreds of thousands return to schools.

While the average learning lost was three months for all pupils, according to teachers, more than half of pupils at schools in the most deprived areas lost four months or more, compared with just 15% of those in the least deprived areas.

That provides yet more evidence to support the claim that the UK’s approach to dealing with the pandemic has disproportionately hit the less well-off.

The news came as the embattled education secretary Gavin Williamson said next year’s GCSE and A-level exams might have to be delayed to give students more tie to study the syllabus. Williamson has been clinging on to his job after the exams fiasco, which saw the government perform several embarrassing U-turns that caused severe disruption to people’s lives.

Travellers from Portugal face quarantine

There is intense speculation that Portugal is to be taken back off the UK’s safe travel list – just a week after it was added – as the Iberian nation reported 21.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 30 August; passing the threshold often applied by the UK government.

The decision, not due before Thursday, would mean yet more upheaval for travellers, who were told they would not have to self-isolate on return from Portugal from 22 August.

PM faces scrutiny

All of this faces the government as MPs return to the Commons after recess. Boris Johnson is coming under pressure from his backbenches for clarity on taxes, education and pandemic policy.

I will try to keep an eye BTL and respond to questions but the best way to get in touch with me is via Twitter, where I’m KevinJRawlinson.

Updated

Source: The Guardian

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