UK

Newspaper review: Gove dubbed GCSE 'meddler-in-chief'

Papers

Changes to GCSEs in England set out by Education Secretary Michael Gove have prompted debate in Wednesday's papers.

His announcement is warmly welcomed by the Daily Mail, which describes the reforms as a "hugely welcome attempt to restore fairness, rigour and integrity" to an exam system that has been "dumbed-down".

The Times is also pleased with Mr Gove's ideas - though it argues he should have gone further by creating more technical colleges for less academic students.

The GCSE syllabus proposed by Mr Gove will "reassure traditionalists", reports the Daily Telegraph.

But in an accompanying comment it voices fears that placing more emphasis on the final exam, rather than coursework, will disadvantage pupils who are "less skilled at memorisation".

That is a point echoed in the Guardian, which says that - at a time when smartphones contain more information than the Encyclopaedia Britannica - "it's impossible to believe the only challenge that should count is pitting one's memory against the blank page".

The Mirror brands Mr Gove the education "meddler-in-chief" and "a menace" to the schooling of children in England.

'Woman of fiery colour'

There are dramatic photographs on several front pages of what the Independent calls the "Battle of Taksim Square" - after Turkish riot police clashed with demonstrators yesterday in the heart of Istanbul.

The Guardian pictures one protester being knocked off his feet by a water cannon. In other images, a demonstrator appears to be engulfed in flames.

The Independent believes the show of force by the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was "as unwise as it was reprehensible".

The paper says it will simply underline the gulf between those who back the demonstrations and those in power.

With the former CIA technician who leaked details of US surveillance operations now in hiding, the focus of the papers' attention turns to his girlfriend.

Lindsay Mills has a blog which includes an account of her devastation at Edward Snowden's decision to go on the run - and also dozens of photographs of her, pole-dancing and often wearing little more than her underwear.

The Daily Telegraph says that while Mr Snowden appears to be a "grey man", he was sharing his life with a "woman of fiery colour".

The Sun headlines the pictures, "For your spies only".

"Tape record your builder" is the main headline in the Daily Mail, which highlights advice given by the consumer minister Jo Swinson as she set out a new consumer bill of rights.

The paper says Ms Swinson urged people to use their mobile phones to record conversations with tradesmen - to make it easier to resolve disagreements.

Looking young

Meanwhile, the Daily Express is among the papers reporting the findings of scientists in New York, who say they have discovered that stress can make your hair turn grey.

The researchers - who studied mice - found that when the body was exposed to stress, the cells giving hair its colour disappeared.

The Express concludes that keeping calm is the key if you want to carry on looking young.

Finally, several papers report that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have made guest appearances in the latest edition of the Beano.

The comic shows the Duchess visiting Bash Street School to open a new library and convincing the likes of Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger that reading is worthwhile.

Elsewhere, the Prince shows the children how to grow their own organic vegetables - and the Bash Street Kids use their peashooters to fire seeds into the ground.

The Beano's editor admits to having been a little nervous when the royal couple viewed their caricatures during a visit to the comic's publishers in Dundee.

Fortunately, he says, Charles and Camilla were both "absolutely delighted".

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