Tag Archives: Mike Sivier

Will new inquest into death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting show failure of DWP safeguarding?

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Permission for a new inquest into the death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting has been granted amid concern that a government department’s role in it had been covered up.

Here is the announcement from solicitors Leigh Day:

“The family of Jodey Whiting has been granted permission to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into her death after new evidence was submitted about the effect on her of a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to halt the benefits on which she was entirely dependent.

“Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, was granted permission by the office of the Attorney General following her submission that the original inquest into her daughter’s death was insufficient. The new evidence she submitted in support of her application included an investigation into the handling of Jodey’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent psychiatrist.

“Jodey, from Stockton-on-Tees, died aged 42 on 21 February, 2017. She took her own life three days after she received her last Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payment.

“She had been informed on 6 February that the payments would stop and the associated housing benefit and council tax benefit payments would also be stopped.

“The decision to halt the payments was made because following a reassessment of Jodey’s entitlement to ESA, begun in 2016, she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

“However, Jodey had requested a home visit for the WCA as she rarely left the house because of her severely poor health. She suffered multiple physical and mental health difficulties, took 23 tablets a day and was entirely dependent on welfare benefits.

“She had made in clear in her request for a home WCA that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

“The request was refused, the WCA was set for a date in January, and Jodey did not attend.

“After Jodey’s death, an inquest was held three months later, 24 May, 2017, which lasted less than an hour.

“The coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP and their acts or omissions in Jodey’s death.

“Jodey’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly funded legal representation.

“After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Jodey.

“Some of the failings had not been known to Jodey’s family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of Jodey’s benefits.

“The opinion of an independent Consultant psychiatrist, sought by Jodey’s family,  confirmed that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.

“Joy argues that the manner in which Jodey was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and that, had this not occurred, Jodey’s death would not have occurred when it did.

“Following the letter giving her permission to apply for a new inquest into Jodey’s death, Joy said: “What a relief to be granted permission for a new inquest into Jodey’s death. It has been a nightmare but I want to thank the hard work of Merry Varney and all the team at Leigh Day and everyone who has been helping me with the Justice for Jodey campaign. This is a big step forward.

““I love my daughter so much and this should never have happened. How could they say she was fit to work? What they put her through was terrible, but I hope that this will mean that Jodey has saved others from the same nightmare.”

“Joy is represented by Leigh Day partner Merry Varney, who added: “The Attorney-General’s decision is very welcome. It is the first completed step in the long journey by Jodey’s family to seek a full and fearless investigation into whether the DWP, and its flawed decision making regarding Jodey’s benefits claim, caused or contributed to her death.

“”We must now apply to the High Court and seek to persuade the Court a fresh inquest is necessary.”

“The application for a new inquest will be made to the High Court within the next 6 weeks and a final hearing may take place by summer, 2021.”

This Site has been covering this case since June 2017 and will report further developments as and when they become available.

Source: Jodey Whiting’s Family Given Permission To Apply For Second Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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#shapeshiftingcreep Boris Johnson’s days in power seem numbered as his hypocrisies are outed

Trump and the chump: Boris Johnson has tried to model his premiership on the presidency of Donald Trump. Will he also copy its end – by being ejected in ignominy?

After Donald Trump was ousted from the US presidency, wouldn’t it be ironic if Boris Johnson’s message of congratulation to Joe Biden led to his own removal from office?

That’s what may happen, it seems, after a former Barack Obama assistant press secretary tweeted his disgust that Johnson thinks he can change his position on any subject and the public won’t notice or protest:

Soon Twitter was awash with #shapeshiftingcreep tweets, showing up the many about-turns in attitude that Johnson has displayed as he ‘shapeshifted’ to fit what he thought the public wanted to see:

Fitting perfectly into this new narrative is Johnson’s reversal over #FreeSchoolMeals for the Christmas holidays.

Remember the fuss about this? Labour had brought a motion to Parliament that the government should provide free meals to children in families suffering poverty due to Conservative government policies, most particularly arising from the response to Covid-19.

Johnson was among 322 Conservative MPs who voted the motion down. He – and other Tory mouthpieces – said the government had provided a fund to local authorities that could be used for that purposes. What they didn’t mention was that it was provided on the expectation that it would have been spent weeks previously – on other things – or that it would not have covered the cost in any case.

Now it has emerged that, at midnight, under cover of the media circus around Joe Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump in the face for the US presidency, Johnson has reversed his decision and will provide help for children in poverty after all:

The government is to spend more than £400m to support poor children and their families in England, following a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford.

A winter grant scheme, to be run by councils, will provide support with food and bills, and a holiday food and activities programme is to be expanded.

The move represents a climbdown for the government, which had said Universal Credit was the best way to help.

From the package of support, a £170m ring-fenced fund will be distributed through councils, with at least 80% earmarked for help with food and bills.

This will receive funding from the beginning of December until the end of March.

The holiday food and activities programme will be expanded with a £220m investment to cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021.

On top of that, there will be a £16m cash boost for the nation’s food banks.

If Johnson thought he could get away with slipping this under the public radar, he had a nasty surprise:

You’ll have noticed another hashtag – #BorisNext – indicating a desire to see Johnson removed from office, now that Trump has gone. It dovetails neatly with #shapeshiftingcreep so This Writer sees no conflict in presenting the following examples:

All of the above remarks are valid – but I would attach particular significance to the following. Firstly:

And finally:

That is the growing sentiment across the UK.

The Conservatives haven’t ruined the country because of incompetence.

They did it because they are selfish and because they are corrupt.

If the United Kingdom – or any of its component countries, at least – is to survive, then Conservative power must be broken for ever.

Source: Marcus Rashford welcomes school holiday support climbdown – BBC News

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Silly season stories: can you believe this desperate bid to blame Johnson’s Covid on Corbyn aide

This is very desperate, isn’t it?

Apparently the claim is that Seumas Milne, aide to Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour leader, passed Covid-19 on to Boris Johnson – according to the Mail on Sunday:

Of course the real reason Johnson caught the virus is the one we’ve known all along: in the days before he imposed social distancing, he had been going around shaking hands with Covid-19 sufferers – getting right into the area where they could infect him.

But those medical experts at MoS thought it couldn’t be that, and concocted this Milne story instead.

Clearly they had some column inches to fill.

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Starmer’s stand on schools and The Sun is so wrong he should be shamed out of the Labour Party

Apt: Keir Starmer reckons he was named after original Labour leader Hardie – but can anyone doubt that his illustrious forerunner might have said these words, if confronted with evidence of Starmer’s abysmal performance.

Keir Starmer seems to be going out of his way to upset the population of the United Kingdom.

His latest howler – in a long series going back to his very first day as Labour Party leader – is an article in the Daily Mail – the Heil, for crying out loud! – demanding that Boris Johnson ensure that all pupils are forced back into school in September, whether they are safe from Covid-19 or not.

Starmer was responding to the Tories’ manipulation of ‘A’ level results – Education Secretary Gavin Williamson fiddled them so pupils at private schools received better results than less privileged (but more intelligent, undoubtedly) peers. But he got it completely wrong.

Starmer demanded that Boris Johnson make sure that all schools are fully open in September, with hardly a mention of the deadly disease that triggered the decision to close them in March.

“I don’t just want all children back at school next month, I expect them back at school,” he blithered. “No ifs, no buts, no equivocation.”

And no safety measures, either.

Not only is it irresponsible for an Opposition leader to behave in this way – it plays directly into the hands of a Tory prime minister who has been keen to send parents back to work but less keen to ensure their safety against Covid-19 – but it is actually dangerous: it demands that safety measures must be ignored.

Result: Starmer has been pilloried – both for writing in the Heil and for failing to stand up for public safety. He wants to put our children in harm’s way:

https://twitter.com/JamesEFoster/status/1294906176971448320

James Foster touches on another blunder: Starmer’s failure to refuse any support from right-wing rag The Sun.

Interviewed last week by Channel 4 news, he refused to criticise that organ, and suggested that he would welcome its endorsement.

The response has been scathing:

And let’s not forget the people of Aberdeen, who rejected The Sun after it referred to the train in the Stonehaven disaster as “death express”.

At a time when Labour is trying to regain ground it has lost in Scotland – and failing, because the Scots have made their rejection of the kind of right-wing, sub-Tory, fake Labour that Starmer peddles abundantly clear over the last decade or so – courting a rag that insults Scottish people is poison.

It’s also a very-odd u-turn:

And it is one that will turn even more people away:

But Starmer is tone-deaf. His tin ear is so bad that he can’t even tell that he has caused such outrage.

Perhaps the final nail in his coffin is the fact that the 10 pledges he made to party members, for them to elect his as leader, have now been shown to have been lies.

That’s right. He has reneged on all but one of them – and that’s only because he hasn’t yet had the chance. See for yourself:

And that is why Starmer has to go. He isn’t even trying to put up a decent opposition to Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tory gang rule:

The longer Starmer squats in the Labour leadership, the worse the UK will suffer – because there’s nobody to oppose Johnson’s gangsters. He must be ousted before we go past the point of no return…

If we haven’t passed it already.

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Lower than sewage: liar Johnson is still making poorest NHS workers pay ‘immigrant surcharge’

Cleaning up: people who can least afford it are being charged for NHS treatment, despite being the ones who keep hospital beds clean and equipment available.

Could there be a better demonstration of what a detestable liar Boris Johnson is?

He said his government would end a £624 “surcharge” it demanded from immigrant NHS workers for their own healthcare treatment. He lied.

In fact, the charge has continued to be applied – to the poorest workers; those least able to afford it.

The fee is still levied on staff who take a different job within six months – lower-paid cleaners, porters and carers, especially those on the zero-hours contracts the Tories have been keen to force into the workplace.

Perhaps most damning of all is the fact that ministers have had to cheek to suggest that these staff – who are on the lowest pay possible – need an “incentive” to continue working.

Typical Tory thinking – Johnson reckons everybody is as lazy as he is!

In fact, people on low incomes – especially those on zero-hours contracts – already have an incentive to work. It’s called “survival”.

Apart from a tiny minority for whom a zero-hours contract works because it fits into their own lifestyle – people who already have enough money to live on – nobody would take up such a job if it wasn’t the best they could get.

Zero-hours jobs offer no sick pay or holiday pay; and the wages are the lowest employers can get away with offering.

And, of course, they are designed to facilitate termination on short notice.

So we see a situation in which Boris Johnson claimed he was ending an unfair charge on people who have worked tirelessly to save us all from Covid-19…

… when instead he was continuing to inflict it on the people who most deserved to have it lifted.

Remember when Nye Bevan said Tories were lower than vermin?

If he were around today, no doubt he would admit that he overpraised them.

I feel sure he would agree with me that Johnson is lower than sewage.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of ‘cynical broken promise’ as some foreign NHS and care staff still pay surcharge | The Independent

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Is ‘dire’ recession ‘until 2023’ warning really to be taken seriously or is there Tory doubletalk on the way?

Rishi Sunak: the Chancellor would love to be able to claim, just before Christmas, that the UK had bucked naysaying predictions.

We learned last week that the UK has gone into its deepest-ever recession, with Gross Domestic Product plunging by 20 per cent in the last three months alone.

Now an economist is warning that the Johnson government’s dire handling of the Covid-19 crisis means the recession will probably last until 2023, with serious consequences for the well-being of everybody in the UK.

But will it really?

I’ve heard these predictions before, and they are very handy for a struggling government.

Suppose the economy doesn’t stay in recession – or at least, that it doesn’t continue backpedalling for the three years predicted?

What do you think the Tories would do? I’ll tell you.

They’d come trumpeting their huge success in beating back the economic forces of recession, asserting that the recovery proves their Covid-19 policies were right, no matter how many people got killed!

And with more shops and businesses re-opening all the time, it seems clear that there will be a bounce-back straight away – meaning that the recession is likely to be over (in statistical terms) now, although the figures won’t be available until November.

And, of course, anybody hard-hit by that recession is unlikely to feel the benefit of that recovery; it will be for the fatcats, as is usual under a Tory administration.

Still: a good-news package that Johnson can sell to a desperate public right before Christmas – jolly hockey sticks for the Tories, what?

Source: Dire warning UK faces recession until 2023 and will fall behind US and Europe – Mirror Online

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The list of Tory donors to boycott is growing. If you really want to beat them, starve them of cash

It’s all about money: if Boris Johnson didn’t have any, he couldn’t harm anyone. So why are we supporting the people who support him?

[Update: if you want to see the eye-watering amounts that Boris Johnson has received in donations – and the names of the private companies providing the cash – visit this article.]

[Update October 25, 2020: New additions added today. They are listed in this colour.]

The response to my article calling for people to stop buying products provided by firms that donate to the Conservative Party had a great response.

Originally I intended to update that article with new additions to the list of Tory donor firms, but it occurs to me that this may not attract as many readers as regular (or semi-regular) updates, so I’m taking the latter route.

I am aware that some respondents have expressed scepticism about the idea. It won’t produce results overnight, that’s for sure – but then, we’re stuck with Boris Johnson and his cabal of incompetents until 2024, thanks to the 2019 general election. Do you have anything better to do?

This Site can’t change the situation on its own, either, so don’t expect me to. It is the individual responsibility of everybody in the UK to obtain the best government possible – and to change that government by any legal means if a wrong decision is made; you can’t expect the rest of us to do it for you.

That means changing your behaviour to cut out the Tory businesses, and finding new suppliers of goods and services you need.

It also means pestering your friends and colleagues to do the same. Expect resistance because people are naturally lazy. Use the exam results fiasco to persuade parents, and the Covid-19 disaster on others. As the Tories perpetrate more cock-ups – and they will – add those to the list you can use.

And here’s the list of Tory donor firms to shun:

Addison Lee (via founder John Griffin)

Airbus Group Ltd

Airport Park & Ride Ltd

Alfred Dunhill Ltd

Allinson’s (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

Amey Group Services Ltd

Annabel’s (Berkeley Square) Ltd

Asda Property Holdings

ASDA Stores Ltd

Askey’s (ice cream – owned by Associated British Foods)

Associated British Foods

AXA Trading Limited

BAA Airports Ltd

Balfour Beatty

Beds and Bars Ltd

Bell Pottinger Communications Ltd

Bestway (cash and carry)

Betfair Ltd

Bicester Shopping Village

Billington’s (sugar – owned by Associated British Foods)

Birmingham Airport Ltd

Boden

Cameron Mackintosh (theatre company: Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and Hamilton)

Caxton Associates (via boss Andrew Law)

Country House Weddings Ltd

Crusha (milkshakes – owned by Associated British Foods)

CVC Capital Partners (via co-founder Bruce Hardy McLain)

Delamere Dairy

Dorset Cereals (owned by Associated British Foods)

Dunelm (owner Bill Adderly donated £500,000 to the Tory 2019 election campaign)

Dyson (household appliance manufacturer)

E.On (gas and electricity supplier)

Express Newspapers

Flamingo Land (Yorkshire theme park)

Gatwick Airport

Genix Healthcare (NHS and private dental clinics)

Ginsters (pasty and pie manufacturer, owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

Golden Wonder (crisps)

Hooch (drink, owned by Tory donor Global Brands Ltd)

Iceland (supermarket)

Imperial London Hotels Ltd

Jacksons of Piccadilly (tea – owned by Associated British Foods)

JCB (construction, but has also licenced hundreds of other products)

Jordans (cereals – owned by Associated British Foods)

JP Morgan Cazenove (via former chairman David Mayhew)

Kingsmill (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

LNT Group (boss Lawrence Tomlinson donated £40,500 to 13 Tory candidates in 2019 election)

The London Cabaret Club

Lycamobile (SIM card company)

Melton Mowbray pies (owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

Microsoft Ltd (UK branch of the US corporation. This could be tricky as I expect we all have Microsoft products!)

National Express

New Cross Nursing Group Ltd (nurse agency)

Next

Nielsen Massey (vanilla and food flavourings – owned by Associated British Foods)

Ocado

Ovaltine (owned by Associated British Foods)

OVO Energy (through managing director Stephen Fitzpatrick)

Palantir

Patak’s (owned by Associated British Foods)

Petrofac (via chairman Ayman Asfari)

Pimlico Plumbers

Radnor Hills Mineral Water

Frederic Robinson Ltd (owns Robinson Breweries and 280 pubs in the North West, producer of bottled and cask beers)

Ryvita (owned by Associated British Foods)

Sainsbury’s (supermarket) (due to donations by Tory Lord John Sainsbury, the company’s president, totalling more than £1 million between 2001 and 2017. There is also a Lord David Sainsbury who donated £8 million to the Liberal Democrats – but his holdings in the firm are now managed as a ‘blind’ trust to prevent any conflict of interest with his political career.)

Scottish Power (although this firm seems confused and has also given to Labour)

Selfridges (department store)

Serco

Silver Spoon (suger manufacturer, owned by Associated British Foods)

Soreen Malt Loaf (owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

The Spectator (magazine, via former owner Sir Henry Keswick)

Speedibake (bakery products – owned by Associated British Foods)

The Sun (newspaper (it says))

Sunblest (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

Tate & Lyle (sugar manufacturer)

Tempcover (car insurer)

Truvia (sweeteners – owned by Associated British Foods)

Twinings (tea manufacturer, owned by Associated British Foods)

Tyrells (crisps)

VK (alcopop owned by Tory donor Global Brands Ltd)

Warburtons (bread manufacturer)

Westfield

Wetherspoons (pub chain)

Wren Kitchens

It’s still not an exhaustive list. I’m working through the evidence as fast as I can.

And it may be inaccurate in places. Any firm or person listed above who thinks they shouldn’t be is invited to get in touch (politely, please!) and we can talk about it.

I must emphasize that this is not something that can achieve results overnight. It requires a behavioural shift by a large number of people, into awareness of where their money goes after they use it to buy goods/services.

And I must also remind you of one very important fact:

If you – personally – don’t do anything, nothing will change. It really is your choice.

(NOTE August 17: Richer Sounds has been removed from the list as I have been informed that the company is very far from being a Tory donor; it is now largely employee-owned and supports a large number of progressive causes and campaigns, in line with the activities of its founder, Julian Richer. I am delighted to make this correction and hope to run an article about what appears to be an exemplary UK business in the near future.)

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Tory corruption: why hide results of inquiry into NHS Covid-19 deaths?

Sufferer: Did any NHS staff member realise, when the Covid cases started coming into hospitals, that they could end up occupying the same beds as the people they were treating?

Who will benefit from the decision to keep secret the findings of a government review of Covid-19 related deaths of NHS staff?

The deceased won’t; they are beyond worrying about these things.

Their families won’t; it’s in their interests to have any mistakes made public, to get justice for the deaths of their relatives.

Other NHS staff won’t; it’s in their interests to have any mistakes made public, to ensure that they are not repeated, possibly harming them.

No, the only people who will benefit from this decision are the decision-makers themselves; secrecy will hide any mistakes they made, obscuring any responsibility they may have for the deaths.

And who are the decision-makers?

Matt Hancock. Boris Johnson.

The Conservative government.

This stinks of Tory corruption.

Source: Coronavirus: Cover-up fears as reviews of Covid-19 deaths among NHS staff to be kept secret | The Independent

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Heatwave exposes failures of Tory UK to cope with climate change

Heat death: the far north has experienced its hottest temperatures ever, with fires breaking out across the world. But the Tories see no need to adapt to climate change and Keir Starmer has abandoned Labour’s policies to deal with it.

This Site received a strange response to the article on Tory class war yesterday (August 14), to the effect that I should be writing about climate change instead. In fact, the two are intertwined.

The Conservatives don’t accept climate change because the changes that acceptance would require would bite into the profits of their donors – and therefore into their own funds.

The recent/current heatwave has brought the issue into sharp focus. This Writer has been stewing, every day – and the nightly thunderstorms, while entertaining, didn’t make up for the fact that it has been hard to concentrate.

It seems I am not alone.

Our buildings are unsuited to hot weather; they were made to keep heat in during the winter. There is still no legal requirement to ensure homes, hospitals, schools or care homes are designed for the current or future climate – and under the Tories I do not believe there every will be.

It costs too much.

Parts of England are set to run out of water soon, because the Tories privatised water provision and the new companies fell into the hands of foreign government-owned franchises that have taken huge profits but invested nothing.

Our transport and energy networks are also facing crisis – look at the Stonehaven derailment which has been blamed on a landslip after heavy rain.

What is the government doing? It’s making matters worse.

Rishi Sunak has announced a £2 billion fund to make homes more energy efficient, with the cash going towards insulation – but the wrong insulation can turn a house into a heat trap.

And Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is no help with Keir Starmer at the helm. He has abandoned Jeremy Corbyn’s ambitious plans to combat climate change because he thinks they’re unpopular with the voters.

We’re facing a wholesale failure in thought and deed by our leaders.

And when the fabric of the nation falls (even further) apart as a result, who do you think will get the blame?

We will.

Source: UK infrastructure inadequate for climate emergency, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

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With two million GCSE results set to be downgraded, let’s see employers, schools and colleges tell the Tories to get stuffed

Exams: GCSE students didn’t take them this year, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t worked hard. The Tories are (again) planning to penalise pupils who didn’t go to private schools, for no other reason than that. Let’s see employers and educators ignore their prejudiced downgrade.

It seems the Tories haven’t learned their lesson from the ‘A’ level results scandal and are planning to repeat their stunt next week with GCSE results.

Gavin Williamson is looking forward to downgrading the results of two million school pupils based, not on the results they are expected to get, but on the fact that they didn’t go to an expensive private school.

Of course this represents a serious and bitter injustice that Williamson will perpetrate for no other reason than because he can.

It represents Tory prejudice against people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, with the least privileged expected to fare the worst, no matter how intelligent they are or hard they have worked.

That is Tory ignorance for you. Amazingly, Williamson and his ilk were voted into Parliament by the parents of many of the children whose futures will be irreparably harmed.

Williamson is hiding behind a claim that the results are determined by a mechanical algorithm – but he is neglecting to admit that the algorithm was written to reflect Williamson’s own prejudice, that pupils at private schools must be placed above the hoi-polloi, no matter how stupid and undeserving the toffs’ children may be.

The Tories aren’t going to change. It is their agenda to push your children’s faces into the mud while their brats stand on their backs to bask in the sun.

It is up to others to reject what Williamson is doing – that means schools, colleges and employers.

If a pupil at a state school fails to receive the required grades to get the further education place they want, or the job for which they have applied, because the government arbitrarily lowered their grade, then it is the moral responsibility of those businesses and institutions to side with the student.

And I think we need to see those organisations say as much – now.

Let’s have the reassurance for GCSE students that employers and universities denied to their ‘A’ level counterparts.

I’ve already called for a boycott of Tory-supporting organisations after the ‘A’ level fiasco.

Let’s see who won’t stand with the kids and give them the same cold-shoulder treatment. Do you agree?

Source: GCSEs: 2 million results set to be downgraded, researchers warn | Education | The Guardian

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