Home > News > Newspaper headlines: ‘The lost generation’ and ‘toppling the past’

Newspaper headlines: ‘The lost generation’ and ‘toppling the past’


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Several of Wednesday’s front pages focus on the government’s announcement that plans for all primary classes in England to return before the summer break have been dropped. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said he wants all children back to school by September, but the i newspaper reports he has been accused of being “asleep on the job”.

The Daily Telegraph

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The Daily Telegraph claims schoolchildren under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, citing analysis by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge . It says scientists have called for a “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children, amid pressure on the government to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible. The paper also marks the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday with a new portrait of him and the Queen.

Daily Mirror

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“The Lost Generation” is the Daily Mirror’s headline, as it declares the government “in chaos” over its plans for schools. The paper also pictures a Black Lives Matter protest in Oxford on Tuesday, where demonstrators demanded the removal of a statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Anti-racism protests have continued in the UK following the death of George Floyd in the United States.


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The Metro says critics have warned that a generation of children will be “left behind” due to plans for schools. It adds that Labour has expressed “deep dismay” at how the plans for bringing back pupils had been handled.

The Guardian

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Meanwhile, the Guardian says cross-party MPs are calling for an urgent plan to get all pupils back to school in England from September, including support staff, the requisition of public buildings and extra help for disadvantaged students. The paper also pictures Mr Floyd’s sisters Zsa Zsa and LaTonya Floyd during his funeral service in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, alongside claims by the father of Stephen Lawrence that UK policing is still institutionally racist.

Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail splashes with full-page image of the removal of a statue of noted slaveholder Robert Milligan from outside the Museum of London Docklands on Tuesday. The newspaper says it marks the explosion of a “cultural revolution”, as councils across Britain have announced they will review public monuments to ensure they are “appropriate”.

The Times

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The Times adds that dozens of statues of slave traders could be now pulled down, with 130 Labour councils saying they will work with communities to assess monuments in their areas of England and Wales. It adds that the leader of Oxford City Council has written to “invite” Oxford University to remove a statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

Daily Express

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Elsewhere, the Daily Express warns that 10 million people could be on NHS waiting lists by the end of 2020 due to delays caused by coronavirus. NHS Confederation projections show that the combination of social distancing, challenges around staffing and a backlog of treatments means the list is expected to rise from about 4.2 million currently to some 10 million by Christmas.

Financial Times

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The Financial Times carries a warning by Vodafone that the UK’s hopes of leading the world in 5G technology would be dealt a “terminal blow” if the government removes Huawei from the country’s telecoms infrastructure. It comes amid a security review that could lead the UK government to ban use of the Chinese telecoms company’s equipment.

Daily Star

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And the Daily Star reports Little Britain has been removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox as objections resurfaced to some of the sketch show’s characters.

There is widespread criticism in Wednesday’s papers of the government’s decision to drop plans for all primary school children in England to return to class before the autumn.

The Daily Mirror is concerned about what it calls “The Lost Generation”, while the Guardian says Boris Johnson has been urged to draw up an “urgent national plan” to get all pupils back to school from September, or risk an “epidemic of educational poverty”.

The paper’s editorial argues the government’s lack of curiosity about the impact of the pandemic on the next generation “is a bitter disappointment”.

The Sun’s leader column says it “shames this nation” that children are being denied an education, but sympathises with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and blames “militant teaching unions playing politics” for “making his life hell”.

The Daily Telegraph says scientists have called for a “rational” debate about the reopening of schools, after highlighting new figures which show children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus.

A professor who is a member of the government’s Sage advisory group is quoted as saying the risk to children is “tiny”- and he suggests allowing herd immunity to build naturally in youngsters may be advisable if no vaccine became available.

The paper’s columnist, Allison Pearson, argues it’s a “national scandal” that children will soon be able to go to theme parks, but not to school.

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The education secretary has said he wants all children back to school in September

The father of Stephen Lawrence has told the Guardian he’s “pleased” with the anti-racism protests sweeping the country, as black people are still treated as second-class citizens in Britain, and the police are still institutionally racist.

Making reference to the findings of a public inquiry into the murder of his son by a racist gang in London, Neville Lawrence says the authorities “have fallen way, way short. Twenty-one years short.”

The Times and the Daily Mail feature photographs of the statue of the slave trader, Robert Milligan, being removed from London’s Docklands last night.

The Times says Conservative councils are under pressure to assess the appropriateness of monuments in their area, after 130 Labour local authorities said they would hold reviews.

According to the Mail, Milligan’s statue is one of 60 “racist” monuments on a hit list drawn up by protesters, and the paper appears concerned by the developments.

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Some zoos, including Chester Zoo pictured here, have reported financial struggles during the coronavirus pandemic

The Times also reports that the prime minister has included zoos on the list of attractions permitted to reopen from Monday after coming under pressure from his father.

Writing in the Sun on Tuesday, Stanley Johnson warned zoos could go out of business because they have had no visitor income since March, and he urged Downing Street to listen to their concerns.

The Times says the matter was due to be debated in the Commons tomorrow, with Tory MPs expected to criticise government inaction.

The Sun has spoken to a British ex-girlfriend of the German man named last week as a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, who claims he told her he had a “horrible job” to do the next day – the night before the three-year-old went missing in 2007.

Another former British girlfriend of the man is said to have asked him in 2010 if he had abducted Madeleine after noticing he was a dead ringer for photo fits of suspects, and he allegedly replied “Just don’t go there”. The Sun says one of the women has spoken again to police following their latest appeal for information.

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A senior executive at Vodafone has told the Financial Times that the UK’s hopes of leading the world in 5G technology would be dealt a “terminal blow” if the government removed the Chinese firm, Huawei, from the country’s telecoms network.

A security review is currently considering whether to exclude Huawei, but Scott Petty warns the UK’s leadership in 5G “will be lost” if mobile operators are forced to spend time and money replacing existing equipment.

He says rather than stripping out Huawei products – potentially costing billions of pounds – efforts should be focused on expanding 5G coverage and investing in the next stage of the technology.

And a number of papers feature an official portrait of the Queen and Prince Philip, released by Buckingham Palace to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday.

The Telegraph says the photograph was taken at Windsor Castle at the start of the month, and notes it’s the first public image of Prince Philip since he was seen leaving hospital on Christmas Eve after being treated for a pre-existing condition.

The Daily Express adds that the duke is “not one to make a fuss” and has chosen to mark his birthday with a lunch with the Queen and video calls with family members.

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