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Schools could open for two weeks in summer holidays to allow students to ‘catch up’

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Schools could open for two weeks in the summer holidays to help kids catch up, according to reports.

The government is reportedly devising a plan that could see schools open for two weeks in summer with the missed holiday added over the autumn and winter breaks.

The Sunday Times reported that schools could keep their windows open in the warmer weather to help reduce the risk of Covid transmission.

The Conservative chairman of the Education Select Committee Robert Halfon told the publication: “We have to reform the school year.

“There has to be change – things cannot carry on the way they did pre-Covid. From my discussions with No10, everything is up for debate.”

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Kirsty Williams, the Welsh education minister, has also said that the Welsh government was looking into whether ‘summer holidays should be shortened to allow for longer firebreak half-term and Christmas holidays’.

She added: “There is a seasonal element to Covid-19. Therefore we have to think about what autumn and winter will look like.”

A further £300m will be spent on tutoring programmes according to a government spokesperson, adding to the existing £1bn Covid Catch Up Fund. 

They said: “The Prime Minister has been clear that extended schools closures have had a huge impact on pupils’ education, which will take more than a year to make up.

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“The Government will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their lost education over the course of this parliament.

“And we have just appointed Sir Kevan Collins to the role of Education Recovery Commissioner, to specifically oversee this issue.”

Health Minister, Edward Argar didn’t rule out the idea of extending the summer term, explaining that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson ‘is looking at a whole range of things to see how we can make sure the impact on them is minimised to the extent that’s possible’.

Boris Johnson has confirmed that schools will not reopen before March 8th. 

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Travel traffic light system to be scrapped as big changes for holidaymakers announced

A number of countries including Turkey are also been removed from the red list

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Travel restrictions for the UK will be majorly relaxed from next month onwards, the transport secretary has announced.

According to Sky News, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries will be completely scrapped and replaced with one red list only from October 4th.

Also from that date, travellers will no longer need to take pre-departure tests for travelling into England from abroad.

And, from the end of October, fully vaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will be able to replace day-two PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests.

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Anyone testing positive, however, will still need to isolate and take a free PCR test to help identify new variants.

From 4am on September 22nd, the following eight destinations will be removed from the red list; Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, The Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.

“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.”

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Scientists at University of Manchester make massive breakthrough on dementia

A massive step forward in the search for a cure for dementia

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Scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered that a common blood pressure drug that could help people suffering from vascular dementia.

Amlodepine is used to treat high blood pressure, but could potentially serve a purpose in tackling a type of vascular dementia caused by damaged and ‘leaky’ small blood vessels in the brain, according to research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

High blood pressure is known to be the main risk factor in developing vascular dementia.

Researchers came to their conclusion by analysing blood flow in the brains of mice with high blood pressure and vascular damage in the brain.

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Mice treated with amlodipine had better blood flow to more active areas of the brain. Their arteries were able to widen, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the parts of the brain that needed it most.

The team also discovered for the first time that high blood pressure decreases the activity of a protein called ‘Kir2.1’ that is present in cells lining the blood vessels and increases blood flow to active areas of the brain.

They now hope to trial amlodipine as an effective treatment for vascular dementia in humans, making it the first clinically proven treatment for vascular dementia if successful. 

Dr Adam Greenstein, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Manchester, who led the Manchester team, told ITV News: “The way vascular dementia develops has remained a mystery until now, and there are currently no clinically proven treatments.

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“Patients are presenting with symptoms of vascular dementia earlier than ever before, and with further research we could potentially offer those patients hope to prevent the progression of this life-changing disease.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “The way to better understand this devastating disease and find new treatments is through research. This study is a vital step forward towards finding new ways of stopping vascular dementia from progressing.

“These new discoveries highlight the major role that high blood pressure plays in developing the disease and shed light on how this occurs and might be prevented in the future.”

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Government plan return of imperial pounds and ounces in supermarkets

A Brexit document includes plans to review the EU ban on markings and sales in pounds and ounces

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As a result of post-Brexit changes to EU laws, supermarkets could soon see the return of imperial pounds and ounces for their food produce. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously said that he would bring imperial units back to shops as part of his pitch to voters in the 2019 general election, promising ‘an era of generosity and tolerance towards traditional measurements’.

And now, in the wake of Brexit, the UK faces a ban on labelling products with imperial units as part of a post-Brexit plan according to Brexit minister Lord Frost, who also claims pint glasses could be voluntarily stamped with a crown.

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A document titled ‘Brexit opportunities: regulatory reforms’ includes plans to review the EU ban on markings and sales in pounds and ounces, with legislation set to come ‘in due course’ and to permit the voluntary printing of the crown stamp on pint glasses, as per The Independent.

This comes after Lord Frost claimed that ‘gloom-mongers’ had been proved wrong following the UK’s exit from the EU, with him reportedly saying to a peer: “A lot of things haven’t happened that the gloom-mongers said would happen and I don’t think are going to happen.

He added: “This economy and this country is prospering vastly already under the arrangements that we are putting in place. High standards need to reflect the context we are operating in.

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“I am sure there will be change, but don’t believe those changes will result in regression of standards.”

This review comes amid crippling food shortages in supermarkets across the UK, which is believed to be a result of both Brexit and Covid.

Other big retailers such as McDonald’s, Greggs, the Co-op and Ikea have also struggled to supply products to their customers in recent weeks.

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