November 24, 2022

UK coronavirus live: Department for Education’s most senior civil servant to step down in wake of exams row

Jonathan Slater to stand down; Boris Johnson tries to blame ‘mutant algorithm’ for exam results...

Jonathan Slater to stand down; Boris Johnson tries to blame ‘mutant algorithm’ for exam results chaos in England; Scotland records first deaths from Covid-19 in over a month

5.30pm BST

As parents in the UK rush to buy masks for pupils after government guidance on the use of face coverings in schools changed, my colleague Caroline Davies has written a handy rundown of the different kinds available.

She’s included the best face coverings for hygiene and the most ethical, as well as those which are most compatible with school uniform.

Related: Face masks in schools: what are the best coverings for children?

5.22pm BST

The government’s plans to scrap Public Health England (PHE) and replace it with a new body have “little clarity” and risk the loss of highly trained staff, doctors have told MPs.

Their comments came in response to questions from members of the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus on Wednesday.

People have been working incredibly hard and we’re facing a very difficult winter. It doesn’t feel like a good time for a distraction like this.

I think it’s going to make recruitment more challenging and I think we risk losing a lot of very specialised and highly trained people.

I’m not at all clear what the problem is that it’s meant to be solving, that’s the first issue.

And if we don’t know what the problem that we’re trying to solve is then it’s very difficult to know whether we’re going to get the right answer at the end.

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