PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.RESULTREADERS’ NET PTS INDIVIDUAL RANKTEAM RANK LAR57LAR69LAR 32, ARI 16+6.7– BAL60BAL51DET 20, BAL 44-11.1– ATL61MIN51MIN 14, ATL 9+10.0– Sources: ESPN Stats & Information Group, Ladbrokes GB63GB59TB 20, GB 26-5.4– When Russell Wilson and J.D. McKissic connected for a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia in Week 13, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback tied the NFL record for the most passing TDs in the fourth quarter in a single season with 15, set by Eli Manning in 2011. The TD pass also sealed a 24-10 victory over the 10-2 Eagles — the Seahawks’ most impressive win of the season. Seattle improved to 8-4 on the year to move back into a playoff position and now owns an 80 percent chance of making the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL projections. Wilson was stellar in the final quarter on Sunday, going 5-8 on his passes with a scorching-hot passer rating of 122.4. It was yet another impressive display by Wilson, whose remarkable fourth-quarter performances have become so frequent, they are almost expected at this point.The Seahawks have based the majority of their success over the past few years on their defense and the “Legion of Boom,” which has been one of the most feared units in recent memory. But as the team continues to deal with major injuries on the defensive side, it’s Wilson and the offense that Seattle has relied on. While Wilson’s performance through the first three quarters has been just OK, his fourth-quarter heroics are among the best in the league. Since Wilson entered the NFL in 2012, only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have kept up with the Seahawks QB in the final 15 minutes of the game. CHI72%CHI62%SF 15, CHI 14+10.7– NO66NO64CAR 21, NO 31-4.2– Russell WilsonSeattle21123 What’s evident about all the other quarterbacks is that they’ve received some of the best protection from their offensive lines: Every quarterback except for Wilson has received top-10 pass protection.1Percentage of plays the offense controls the line of scrimmage on dropbacks The Seahawks’ offensive line ranks 23rd, meaning Wilson has had to scramble for his life on multiple occasions. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Wilson has attempted 95 passes outside the pocket, which is the most in the league and 31 more than the quarterback with the second most, Blake Bortles.The poor offensive line play also hasn’t helped the Seahawks’ ground game, which is all but nonexistent this season. On the surface, the Seattle rushing attack looks perfectly mediocre with an average yards per rush of 3.90 — good enough for 22nd in the league. But if you isolate the guys who are paid to run (as in, not throw), the Seattle rogues’ gallery of running backs — Chris Carson, Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, someone named Mike Davis — has collectively averaged 3.19 yards per carry. That’s not only the worst in the NFL this season, it ranks 537th among 543 team seasons since 2001.All this means that the burden is completely on Wilson to move the chains and keep his team in the game — making this Wilson’s most important season. The 2013 champion Seahawks were built on Wilson, a stifling defense and the Beast Mode rush attack. Of those things that aren’t Wilson, one is injured and the other plays in Oakland. And yet, Seattle could all but seal its playoff spot with a win in Week 14 over Jacksonville, which would improve its chances of making the postseason to 92 percent,2Independent of other Week 14 games. according to our Elo prediction model. Wilson would also boost his MVP credentials significantly by defeating the Jaguars’ defense, which leads the league in total defensive expected points added. If the Seahawks do prevail and make the playoffs, you won’t need to guess who’s responsible.FiveThirtyEight vs. The ReadersWeek 13 in our NFL predictions game — in which we invite you to outsmart our Elo algorithm — saw the readers suffer three heavy losses that started on Thursday night, by predicting that Washington would beat Dallas. They were wrong and lost 15.7 points in the game. The readers then lost 11.1 points by being less confident than our Elo in Baltimore’s victory over Detroit. And the last of the double-digit losses for the readers came on Sunday night when the Seahawks upset the Eagles, which gave readers a loss of 12.8 points. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. The readers gained 10.7 points by being less confident than Elo in the Bears’ chances against the 49ers, and then 10 points in predicting a win for the Vikings on the road against the Falcons.Make sure you get your Week 14 predictions in early, and thanks for playing. PHI52PHI61PHI 10, SEA 24-12.8– OAK71OAK75NYG 17, OAK 24+0.2– TEN66TEN68HOU 13, TEN 24-0.7– Carson WentzPhiladelphia31710 PLAYERTEAM1ST DOWNSOFF. TDSTOTAL YARDSPASS PROTECTION Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 13Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 13 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game DAL61WSH53WSH 14, DAL 38-15.7– NE73NE80NE 23, BUF 3+1.2– OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION JAX75JAX79IND 10, JAX 30+0.1– KC62KC60KC 31, NYJ 38+0.0 MIA57MIA55DEN 9, MIA 35-4.1– Jared GoffL.A. Rams1310105 The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. Russell Wilson’s offense transcends the Eagles’ defenseComparing Ladbrokes’ top five MVP candidates Tom BradyNew England1328 Drew BreesNew Orleans111562 LAC89LAC89CLE 10, LAC 19-1.6– PIT66PIT73PIT 23, CIN 20+2.0– In the first three quarters of a game, Wilson’s touchdown to interception ratio is 2.5, according to the ESPN Stats & Information Group. Come the fourth quarter, that ratio balloons to 4.2.The much-deserved hype of Philadelphia sophomore quarterback Carson Wentz and the longevity of New England’s Tom Brady have left Wilson as the forgotten man when it comes to talk of MVP. Wilson may not be having the best statistical season of his career, but after he outdueled Wentz on Sunday, the Seahawks QB earned the right to be at the forefront of the conversation based on how important he is to his team.Of the five players — all quarterbacks — with the best odds of winning the MVP, according to Ladbrokes, Wilson leads the league in total accrued yards — rushing and passing — and total offensive touchdowns responsible for, and he is second only to Brady in the number of first downs he’s been responsible for. Check out our latest NFL predictions.
15Carson Wentz403392,6687.975.8 29Ryan Tannehill402632,0537.860.0 Rodgers has been inefficient on play-actionPlayers with at least 100 play-action dropbacks and their stats for those plays in the 2015-2018 regular seasons 25Blake Bortles603712,7527.468.1 36Colin Kaepernick191641,1407.053.9 23Jay Cutler342001,5167.669.4 27Marcus Mariota553763,1708.462.5 4Carson Palmer382232,2149.982.1 11Jameis Winston543772,9988.077.6 6Philip Rivers643423,2549.580.7 28Derek Carr623292,2246.861.3 8Matt Ryan645625,2859.480.1 17Patrick Mahomes171531,4019.274.8 10Kirk Cousins644313,8929.078.9 13Matthew Stafford643513,0928.877.0 12Dak Prescott483232,3507.377.1 20Andy Dalton564013,2368.173.1 Rodgers and the Packers managed 1.4 yards per dropback less than league average on a play type that is wildly effective for the vast majority of the league. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton — a player no evaluator would claim is Rodgers’s equal on the field — was able to squeeze out 2 yards per dropback more than Rodgers on 71 more play-action passes. When Jacoby Brissett, Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler are able to post yards-per-dropback numbers superior to a former Super Bowl winner and league MVP, something unexpectedly terrible has happened.Many have pointed to the lack of creativeness in former coach Mike McCarthy’s play designs, so perhaps we can put some of the blame there. According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Rodgers would routinely change plays he felt were poor calls, and Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report quoted an unnamed source who claimed that Rodgers audibled to a new play up to a third of the time. The same source claims that those audibles netted very poor results for the Packers. Under new Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur, early signs are that the incessant audibling will stop. LaFleur said at the NFL combine in February that packaged plays — not audibles — are a staple of the Kyle Shanahan offense he’s bringing to Green Bay.And perhaps more important to the future success of Rodgers and the Packers is the more aggressive and creative play-action game LaFleur is bringing with him from Tennessee. The Titans averaged 7.3 passing yards per dropback on play-action passes to the Packers’ 6.6 in 2018, and I believe much of the difference between the two teams can be explained by a lack of creativity on the part of the Packers.Two plays versus the Miami Dolphins from last season help to explain the disparity. In Week 10, the Packers would beat the Dolphins 31-12, but Green Bay gave a glimpse into why their play-action game was so underwhelming in 2018.The call was a play-action bootleg in which the quarterback fakes a toss to the running back and then turns and rolls out to the opposite side of the field. Despite Rodgers’s strong arm, McCarthy’s play design calls for just two eligible receivers to run routes into the Dolphins secondary, and no routes are run attacking the void created by the two Miami defenders flowing to the line of scrimmage on the far side of the field chasing the fake. Ultimately, Rodgers checks down to tight end Lance Kendricks for a short gain after finding his deep options covered.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/packers-play-action.mp400:0000:0000:36Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Meanwhile a call from Week 1 by LaFleur against that same Miami Dolphins defense offers an interesting contrast. In a game in which the Titans lost 20-27, LaFleur called a play-action boot, but it featured three receivers attacking downfield, including a very sneaky tight end leak route that took advantage of the Dolphins’ over-aggressiveness defending the run. Despite a poor throw by Marcus Mariota, which caused the receiver to stop his route and wait for the pass, the play was good for 30 yards and set Tennessee up with first-and-goal.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/titans-play-action.mp400:0000:0000:40Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.For Green Bay fans, it isn’t hard to imagine A-Rod putting enough air under the ball on a similar play call to net the Packers a touchdown. It’s this kind of aggressiveness and creativity that landed LaFleur the Green Bay job this offseason and could help Rodgers return to something close to his early career form.At 35, Rodgers is on the downslope of his career — which, in fairness, could last five to eight years more based on recent QB longevity. But either way, the Packers need to provide him with every possible edge if they want to win another Super Bowl and avoid the disconcerting reality that sole possession of the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history secured them only one Lombardi Trophy. A revamp of the hyperefficient play-action passing game seems like a terrific place to begin.CORRECTION (Aug. 15, 2019, 1:10 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly described Aaron Rodgers’s place on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2019. Rodgers is the fourth-ranked quarterback — behind Drew Brees in addition to Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady — not the third-ranked QB. 22Brian Hoyer201731,3958.169.6 32Aaron Rodgers553302,0006.159.8 9Case Keenum443512,9998.579.4 31Eli Manning634333,2617.559.9 2Tom Brady604504,3649.782.9 Rodgers has particularly fallen short of the rest of the league on intermediate throws. When he threw 11 to 25 yards downfield over the past four seasons, Rodgers completed fewer passes than we’d expect from a league-average QB. Depending on the area of the field, the deviation from expected performance was sometimes alarmingly high. On passes charted as being thrown to the “far left” area of the field between 11 and 20 yards deep, Rodgers completed passes a whopping 17.6 percentage points under expected.Part of this could be explained by the injury and subsequent decline of Rodgers’s former favorite target, Jordy Nelson, who was an outside threat for most of his career in Green Bay. But Rodgers’s struggles haven’t been limited to outside throws: Since 2015 on throws to the middle-left, middle-right and center of the field, at depths from 11 to 25 yards, Rodgers has a completion percentage 1.4 points under expected.3On 163 pass attempts.What’s notable is that — based on work done by Sarah Mallepalle — the deep middle and intermediate middle areas of the field are among the most efficient places to pass the ball, so Rodgers’s poor performance there is particularly curious.One possible explanation for the Packer’s underperformance in the middle of the field is the play-action passing game. Play-action fakes are designed to draw linebackers and safeties toward the line of scrimmage to defend the run, leaving the intermediate middle and deep middle areas of the field open. Play-action passes are also among the most efficient types of plays an NFL team can run, so a lack of success on these plays could help explain Rodgers’s recent deficiencies.When we look at the numbers, it turns out that’s exactly what we find. Since 2015, the Packers rank dead last in the league in yards per dropback on play-action passes. Rodgers started just 55 of those 64 games because of injuries, so it’s only fair to break out his performance separately. But when we look just at games Rodgers started, things don’t get much better. Among quarterbacks in that same span with at least 100 play-action pass attempts, Rodgers ranks last in passing yards per dropback and 32nd out of 41 in Raw QBR, behind the likes of journeymen (Brian Hoyer), much-derided (Derek Carr and Eli Manning) and recently deposed quarterbacks (Blake Bortles and Ryan Tannehill). *Games started.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 26Ben Roethlisberger562251,8988.465.2 5Russell Wilson645314,1867.980.8 Ask most NFL coaches, players or decision makers if Aaron Rodgers is elite, and they’ll probably look at you like you’re either new or slightly inebriated. In the recently revealed NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2019, the league’s players ranked Rodgers as the fourth-best QB in the league, behind Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, and the eighth-best player overall. Likewise, 53 of 55 coaches and executives polled by The Athletic’s Mike Sando ranked Rodgers as a tier 1 quarterback — results that elevated him over Brady as the most esteemed quarterback in the NFL in the eyes of the league’s decision-makers.Questioning Rodgers’s ability normally borders on football insanity, but in recent seasons, the statistics of the Packers’ quarterback haven’t exactly matched his outsize reputation. So as Rodgers prepares for his 12th season as the Green Bay starter and his first under a new coach, we dare to ponder the unthinkable: Are we sure Aaron Rodgers is still elite?There’s no doubting Rodgers’s excellence early in his career. From 2008 — his first year as a starter — to 2014, Rodgers led the Packers to a 70-33 record1In games he started. and a Super Bowl win while throwing for 8.3 yards per pass attempt and winning two MVP awards. Over that same period, Rodgers passed for 225 touchdowns, good for a TD rate of 6.6 percent.Since 2015, however, the Packers have gone a cumulative 30-24-1 with Rodgers under center, and the QB hasn’t been as sharp as he once was. Over the past four years, Rodgers’s yards per passing attempt dropped more than a yard from his previous career average to 7.1,2League average from 2015 to 2018 was 6.8 yards per passing attempt. and his TD rate fell a percentage point to 5.6 percent. Perhaps more worrying, there are important areas of the field where Rodgers isn’t simply no longer excellent — he’s actually worse than league average.I looked at all passes charted with a direction that Rodgers has thrown since 2015, as recorded by ESPN Stats & Information Group, and compared his passes with a direction given to the league average in the same area of the field: 37Trevor Siemian241771,1806.752.1 19Ryan Fitzpatrick372231,8568.374.3 34Cam Newton604322,9656.957.2 24Jared Goff383362,9798.968.8 playerG*DropbacksYardsYards per dropbackQBR 40Joe Flacco514102,8667.040.5 16Nick Foles201531,2438.175.5 1Deshaun Watson222111,8518.886.2 38Josh McCown271411,0127.251.2 30Alex Smith563012,2757.660.0 18Tyrod Taylor452972,3017.774.6 3Drew Brees623923,1378.082.1 35Mitchell Trubisky261581,0696.857.0 21Sam Bradford342292,2199.771.7 7Andrew Luck382862,5598.980.6 33Teddy Bridgewater171329597.358.0 39Jacoby Brissett171227696.345.0 41Brock Osweiler302001,3566.837.9 14Blaine Gabbert211451,0397.276.8
Despite Indiana’s strong aerial attack grabbing much of the attention leading up to Saturday’s game, it was Ohio State’s defense that stole the show, limiting the Hoosiers to their lowest point total of the year during the Buckeyes’ 38-10 victory. Coming into Columbus averaging more than 348 yards per game through the air, OSU’s defense held Indiana to a season-low 141 yards passing and added three interceptions. OSU defensive coordinator Jim Heacock said it was a collaborative effort by the defense, which maintained a strong push up front and was backed by solid play from the secondary. “It was a fantastic team effort against a great quarterback,” he said. “Our defensive front got a lot of pressure on (Chappell), and the back end did a great job playing close to receivers and breaking up passes.” And break up passes is exactly what they did. Totaling seven pass break-ups, the Buckeye secondary gave the Hoosier receivers fits with no receiver catching more than four balls all afternoon. “Our plan was to get after the receivers,” cornerback Chimdi Chekwa said. “We knew (Tandon) Doss was an explosive guy, that after he caught the ball he could break tackles and run. (No.) 88 was a guy that they really liked to get the ball to, so we really wanted to get after him.” Even with the impressive performance by the OSU secondary, defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said the silver bullet defense’s success started with the defensive line’s ability to get after the quarterback. “We wanted to get pressure on their quarterback to help our backfield,” Larimore said. “We knew they wouldn’t be able to go down field as much if we were able to put heat on them.” Although the Buckeye defensive line had no sacks to show, Indiana coach Bill Lynch said the Hoosiers felt the defensive pressure. “The pressure they put on us with their front four gave us no time to throw,” Lynch said. “We knew we were going to have to play catch and throw to be successful. The problem is, they don’t even have to blitz to get heavy pressure. “They mixed up their coverage and they have a lot of talent.” And knowing they were facing off against the nation’s fourth-ranked passing offense, cornerback Devon Torrence said the defense’s preparation was key as well. “We know that we have to take it very personal to understand the offensive schemes and what our defense is vulnerable to,” Torrence said. “We really just worked to figure out what they were doing and just studied them in-depth and we were really on top of all their plays.”
DAYTON – The fate of Ohio State’s season came down to a read – a decision to either put the ball in the hands of its best scorer or leave it with its floor leader and defensive epicenter. With the ball in his hands and 28 seconds to play, junior guard Aaron Craft hovered footsteps behind the 3-point line and dribbled away precious ticks off the clock while his teammates, namely junior forward Deshaun Thomas, fought frantically to get open. As cool and collected as one could probably be amid the hurricane that is a last-second finish to an NCAA tournament game – one that would determine whether the No. 2-seeded Buckeyes would reach their fourth-straight Sweet 16 – Craft continued to patiently shift around the top of the key, waiting for someone to get open. That help, though, never came. At least, not how he wanted it. So, Craft, known more for his ability to harass the game’s best offensive weapons rather than be one himself, took the game – and OSU’s fate – and hoisted it upon the shoulders of his 6-foot-2, rosy-cheeked frame. While every bounce of the ball seemed to magnify the general anxiety level of the 13,409 in attendance at the University of Dayton Arena, Craft waved off Thomas’ pining for the ball and watched the clock expire before launching the ball – and the Buckeyes hopes – through the air and into the net with 0.2 seconds left. The moment – one that will almost certainly echo in years to come – felt paradoxical considering Craft’s play in the game’s final 20 minutes. The typically clutch point guard turned the ball over three times in the second half, missed four free throws down the game’s stretch and clumsily clanked a mid-range jumper off the iron in the contest’s second-to-last possession. And for Craft, known more for his ability to slash his way to the basket rather than connect from longer distances, a buzzer beater from behind the arc seemed like it might be even more of an arduous task. But the Findlay, Ohio, native maintains he kept his poise despite rather atypical struggles late in the game. “I did some things down the stretch I don’t normally do. Missed some shots and missed some free throws,” he said. “We had confidence in about three of four guys at the end that could take a shot. This game just happened to be me and I was able to knock it down.” While Craft makes less than 30 percent of his 3-point shots, Lenzelle Smith Jr. said Craft’s basket looked like one from a seasoned-sharpshooter. “Normally he has a tendency to hitch the ball with the shot, but that one was straight net,” Smith said. “That was bottom of the net.” And though the shot was executed as intended, that’s hardly the way the Buckeyes drew the play up. Smith said the plan was to feed it to Thomas, who led all scorers with 22 points in Sunday’s 78-75 win against Iowa State. “We definitely wanted to have Deshaun in some type of pick and roll. Deshaun was going to be in pick and roll with Aaron, and I was on the strong side with Aaron coming off because we thought that the defender was gonna step up off of Aaron and he would have thrown the ball to Deshaun for a great shot at the top of the key or me in the corner for a good shot,” Smith said. The Cyclones, though, rotated and switched defenders, confirming Craft’s decision to hold onto the ball. “Once we seen that they switched, all bets are off,” Smith said. “Aaron, take this guy to the basket and shoot over him.” OSU coach Thad Matta called the instant a “big-time shot by a big-time kid and a big-time player.” “I saw the same thing Aaron saw. It was right in front of us. (Iowa State) switched it. They made a good read. They set the screen and switched … We had told him, when we took the timeout, ‘Let’s get the last shot and go for the win.’ He could have timed it maybe .5 too long, but it was pretty good timing on his part.” Thanks in part to Craft’s last-second heroics, OSU is set to play No. 6 Arizona at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday night. “It was a great moment for Craft and for this basketball team,” Smith said. “I’m so happy for him now. He’s on top of the world and hopefully we can keep making those type of plays.” For the Buckeyes to advance to the Elite 8 and perhaps further, they’ll likely need him to.
If you collected your A-level results today and got into university, congratulations. If you missed your grades and are now in Clearing, don’t panic. You have until mid-September for the Clearing vacancy search to close, and many people get allocated places later on in the process. Even then, university isn’t for everyone, so be sure to research all your options first – whether that’s an apprenticeship, trainee scheme or gap year. Good luck.Search for Clearing vacancies onlineDownload the Clearing app on iPhone or Android Applicants have made over 60,000 Clearing course searches on the Ucas website so far today (10.30am), of which the most searched-for are:EconomicsLawPsychologyBusinessNursing 4:15PM(Head) teachers ‘jump for joy’ 3:42PMFind the results of your A-level subject 11:58AMCheers and tears for students over A-levels As a brief interlude before nationwide results are released at 9.30am, send any shout-outs or insightful thoughts you may have to email@example.com or Tweet me @JosieGurneyRead. And if you’re worried about your results, just bear in mind Jeremy Clarkson’s wise words… According to the Telegraph’s Clearing search tool, Russell Group universities still have some 3,900 courses available for applicants starting this year.Last night, there were more than 40,000 courses available at all universities via Clearing – a 29 per cent rise on the 31,000 offered last year, according to Ucas figures.At the time of writing, these Russell Group universities have places:Birmingham: 78 Bristol: 48 Cardiff: 327 Durham: 1 Edinburgh: 130 Exeter: 29 Glasgow: 559 King’s College London: 35 Leeds: 554 Liverpool: 500 Manchester: 210 Newcastle: 199 Nottingham: 185 Queen Mary, University of London: 203 Queen’s University Belfast: 203 Sheffield: 369 Southampton: 230 Warwick; 129 York: 179 2:47PMDone better than expected this year? Try Ucas Adjustment Commenting on today’s results, Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said:”Congratulations to everyone collecting their results today, which are the culmination of years of hard work by students and teachers. I wish everyone getting their results success as they embark on the next stage of their lives. With a growing jobs market, the choice of a high quality apprenticeship, university or college place on offer, I’m confident that with hard work and commitment, whatever option they pursue they will go on to fulfil their potential.We want to make our country a place where there is no limit on anyone’s ambition or what they can achieve. It is hugely encouraging that this year sees a record 424,000 applicants already securing a place at one of our world-class universities, with increasing numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds gaining a place as well.” 3:40PM’Milifandom’ founder tells of Results Day success 10:23AMStudents open their A-level results live on air 7:49AMReforms to the A-level appeals process criticised by heads More must be done to address the higher education blackspots in the UK, to prevent students from low-income backgrounds “falling through the cracks” in the education system.Highlighting university admissions figures, Brett Wigdortz, CEO and founder of Teach First, has said it is an “unbelievable waste of talent” that in some areas of the UK only one in seven 18-year-olds will go to university this year.Hundreds of thousands will be getting their A Level results today and it’s a moment to celebrate the hard work and brilliant achievements of so many young people, as well as the support of teachers who’ve played a vital role in the success. Sadly, we can’t forget those young people who have fallen through the cracks before sixth form and may have missed out altogether. It is an unbelievable waste of talent that in some parts of the UK as few as one in seven 18-year-olds will go to university this year, and all too often it’s those from low income backgrounds that miss out.We must focus on raising attainment and aspiration in schools through great teaching and leadership, while expanding support for pupils at an earlier age so they know their options and can make the right decisions for their future. Without proper coordination of efforts on this issue we won’t realise all young people’s full potential. Speaking to the Telegraph on Thursday afternoon she said: “Today has been good. I was quite worried about my results so when they came through it was quite a surprise. Now it’s just a case of deciding where I want to go next.”On Thursday she had been offered places through Clearing at the University of York, the University of Exeter, and Queen Mary University of London. The next step, she said, was deciding what to do next, having sent her English literature paper back to be remarked. But she said she was not too disappointed about this.“I think it probably won’t change the grade but at the same time I’m not that bothered about it. I’ve got offers from these good universities anyway. I’ve made my peace with it.” While teachers from Brighton and Hove High School also perform an impressive leap. 11:55AMThe funniest tweets about A-Level results day 3:21PMClearing choices can now be added to Ucas Track Schools and universities are still failing to prepare young people for the world of work, despite repeated calls from business leaders.Marcus Mason, head of education and skills at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), warned that businesses are reporting “huge skills gaps” and said that the skills taught at school must “truly improve” young people’s employability.”Businesspeople across the country will offer their sincere congratulations to students on their hard-won A-level results.However their primary concern is having people that are fully ready for work. There are many different ways to develop the educational base, to give pupils the best chance of converting their academic achievements into success in the workplace. Our survey work is showing that many businesses are reporting huge skills gaps. To tackle this, we need to develop a system where careers advice and skills taught at schools, colleges and universities truly improve young people’s employability.” Congratulations to students at Salford City College, who opened their A-level results live on Good Morning Britain. If you have spent this morning calling universities to find a Clearing place and have received a verbal offer, you can now enter these into Ucas Track. Search for Clearing vacancies onlineDownload the Clearing app on iPhone or Android Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JosieGurneyRead with your pictures. 1:48PMEntries to modern foreign languages continue to decline Credit:Warren Smith 10:20AMHead teachers ‘jumping for joy’ Keep sending them in (email@example.com or @JosieGurneyRead) Have I got the gold high jump medal for our best results in 3 years? @JosieGurneyRead @GodolphinSchool #JumpForJoy pic.twitter.com/wYY64cpbu3— Godolphin Head (@GodolphinHead) August 18, 2016 2:18PM(Head) teachers ‘jump for joy’ What better way to finish our coverage for the day? Congratulations to Emma Hattersley, head at Godolphin School for winning this year’s “(Head) teacher jump of the year”. 11:01AMNick Gibb: We want to make our country a place where there is no limit on anyone’s ambition Florence and Alice Sanders White Florence said: “So either we are equal in ability or it is just an amazing set of coincidences.”The twins are both going to Oxford but separate colleges right next door, Lincoln and Exeter, and say they both want to become writers after the complete their degrees.Alice said: “Ideally we would like to write plays together – that would be the dream.”Florence said: “Our interests are the same, it always works out like that, though we do differ on some things, like our choice of films.” Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.Best A* – A pass rates in 2016. Percentage of students getting A* or A in 2016Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: column chart.column series with 5 columns.The chart has 1 X axis displaying categories.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.Best A* – A pass rates in 2016Best A* – A pass rates in 2016 – Highcharts CloudBest A* – A pass rates in 2016Percentage of students getting A* or A in 2016Further MathsIrishMathsGermanFrench0102030405060Source: JQC; excluding “other modern languages” 2:54PM(Head) teachers ‘jump for joy’ 8:56AMIs university too expensive? 8:46AM’Too many universities are failing their students’ 9:10AMResults Day thoughts Julian Thomas, the Master of Wellington College, has written for the Telegraph, responding to recent reforms of the exam appeals process. He argues that the quality of marking needs to be improved, but that there are too few exam markers, who are paid too little per script, and given far too little time to do their job properly.”I would support a system where the entire university application process is administered after A-Level results have been published and any appeals have been heard. If exams were also taken earlier, then this would not only build more time into the entire system to give markers a better chance of getting it right first time, but it would also have the added benefit of giving greater clarity to all involved. No students would miss a conditional offer, because they wouldn’t exist; students would know which universities they could realistically apply to, as results would be in the bag before even starting to complete UCAS; and no-one would have to go through the chaos of clearing where university places are regularly dished out on a first-come-first served basis.” Julian Thomas, Master of Wellington College 1:27PMHow did they do? Telegraph writers relive A-level results day Please bear with us if you are calling regarding #Medicine through #Clearing. We have received over 1500 calls already.— St George’s London (@StGeorgesUni) 18 August 2016 Writing for the Telegraph today, Richard Backhouse, headmaster of Berkhamsted School, has argued for a complete change in how A-levels are awarded. Instead of grades, Backhouse has said that a percentage score would give universities a simpler job in distinguishing between candidates, and would remedy the unfair situation students are regularly presented with when one percentage point can make the difference between a B and an A grade.”Appeals, or re-marks, are problematic. Students and teachers have an understandable incentive to challenge any mark which is just below a grade boundary; arguably it is their duty to do so given the mess the system is in.Let’s look at a specific. Anyone finishing an A-level with 318/400 would receive a B grade. They would need two extra marks for an A grade and so it is worth putting in for a re-mark, because it just might result in the higher grade.If A-level grades were abolished and replaced with a score out of 100, universities could make offers based on this scale” Commenting on A-level results today, Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, called on the Government to make sure that quality higher level apprenticeships are available to those who choose not to go to university. Congratulations must go to young people and their teachers who have worked so hard to deliver yet another excellent set of results.This has been achieved despite upheaval to syllabuses and cuts to budgets in the post-16 sector, which have had a significant impact on the staffing levels and resources available in schools and colleges.It is disappointing to see that uptake in certain subjects has dropped, including art and design, modern languages and sociology. The reasons for this decline must be examined carefully.The increase in A-level students securing places in higher education is positive, although it is concerning that Government policies will lead to significant amounts of debt for young people upon completing their courses.For those young people choosing not to pursue university, there needs to be more focus on providing alternatives that carry equal status, such as high quality work placements and apprenticeships. @JosieGurneyRead @BHHSGDST teachers jump for joy – fantastic results pic.twitter.com/a0LSBuGbBb— Brighton & Hove High (@BHHSGDST) August 18, 2016 Writing today, Allister Heath, deputy editor of The Telegraph has argued that it is time universities raised their game but that enforcing fee cuts on underperformers, as Jo Johnson the universities minister is threatening, isn’t the right answer.For hundreds of thousands of school-leavers, this is the real Super Thursday, the culmination of their very own academic Olympiad. But while we should celebrate our young people’s prospects and achievements, far more needs to be done to improve the quality of our universities. Britain is only halfway on its journey towards creating a true free market in higher education. We need to move faster to empower students while turbo-charging competition between universities.The danger signs are there for all to see: despite more realistic tuition fees, many universities are underperforming; teaching can be abominable, especially in research-driven institutions; and some courses do little to bolster young people’s employability. University isn’t for everyone. Back in March I wrote about five careers that, surprisingly, didn’t require a degree. The advice still stands today.To check out what apprenticeships are available in your area, download our app for iPhone and Android.Last year, education foundation, the Sutton Trust, published some encouraging statistics. According to researchers, the best apprentices – those with a level 5 qualification – could earn £50,000 more in their lifetime than someone with an undergraduate degree from a university outside of the Russell Group. For those who were still holding onto the belief that university was the only route to a rewarding career, the report was just the latest piece of evidence pointing to the contrary. According to analysis by The Student Room, students in the North West of England are the happiest with their grades, with 84 per cent saying they are happy, compared with just 16 per cent who said they were sad.At the other end of the spectrum, Welsh students are most disappointed with their grades (58 per cent happy compared with 42 per cent sad), while male students are marginally happier than females (82 per cent compared with 78 per cent). Jumping even higher this year with our best ever A Level results #JumpForJoy @JosieGurneyRead pic.twitter.com/cY6heO8lR3— Latymer Upper School (@LatymerUpper) August 18, 2016 12:28PMStudents in the North West are the happiest with their grades 12:18PMRecord number of EU students placed at UK universities The number of EU students placed at UK universities and colleges has increased to 26,800 – the highest number recorded – reflecting an 11 per cent increase on the same point last year, according to Ucas. Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.Worst A* – A pass rates in 2016. Percentage of students getting A* or A in 2016Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: column chart.column series with 5 columns.The chart has 1 X axis displaying categories.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.Worst A* – A pass rates in 2016Worst A* – A pass rates in 2016 – Highcharts CloudWorst A* – A pass rates in 2016Percentage of students getting A* or A in 2016ICTMedia/ Film/ TV StudiesCommunication StudiesCritical ThinkingGeneral Studies0102.557.512.515Source: JQC If you failed to get into your first or insurance choice university, try not to panic. Upwards of 60,000 students went through Clearing last year, so you won’t be alone.Check out all our Clearing advice articles, and, if you haven’t already, familiarise yourself with the process – then you can start the all-important research.If you would like to speak to anyone about your results, the Exam Results Helpline has over 40 careers advisers on a dedicated phone number – 0808 100 8000 – and on their Twitter page from 8am today. 9:56AMGender divide remains in subject choice I was pleased to note yesterday that some head teachers were busy preparing for my best jump competition. My inbox is now open for entries. Don’t all rush at once.So far the man to beat is Gareth Doodes, Head of Dover College, bettering his jump from last year. Tweet me @JosieGurneyRead or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart and navigate between data series.Gender gap: The subjects with the biggest gender divides. Percentage of males and females taking the 10 subjects with the biggest gender gap in 2016Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: column chart.The chart has 1 X axis displaying categories.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.Gender gap: The subjects with the biggest gender dividesGender gap: The subjects with the biggest gender divides – Highcharts CloudGender gap: The subjects with the biggest genderdividesGender gap: The subjects with the biggest gender dividesPercentage of males and females taking the 10 subjects with the biggest gender gapin 2016Percentage of males and females taking the 10 subjects with the biggest gender gap in 2016MaleFemaleComputingPerforming/ Expressive ArtsWelshPhysicsSociologyPsychologyArt and Design subjectsCommunication StudiesEnglishFurther Maths020406080100120Source: JQC; excludes “other sciences” While Clearing is by no means an unusual route for sixth formers to take – over 60,000 students found a place through Clearing last year – one university has caused a stir this year by offering medicine as an option. And it seems the decision is proving popular with prospective medics.Eoin Lally, head of student recruitment at St George’s, University of London, said: “We’ve had the same number of calls by 1030 am today than we had over 2-3 days in 2015.” Use regions/landmarks to skip ahead to chart.The biggest increases and drops in student numbers. Percentage change in number of students; top and bottom five for 2011-16Long description.No description available.Structure.Chart type: column chart.column series with 10 columns.The chart has 1 X axis displaying categories.The chart has 1 Y axis displaying values.Chart graphic.The biggest increases and drops in student numbersThe biggest increases and drops in student numbers – Highcharts CloudThe biggest increases and drops in student numbersPercentage change in number of students; top and bottom five for 2011-16ComputingFurther mathsEconomicsReligious StudiesGeographyWelshPerforming/ Expressive ArtsPhysical EducationGeneral StudiesCritical Thinking-1000-125-75-50-25255075Source: JQC Worst performing A-levels French was down 6.4 per cent to 9,672 this year; German was down 4.2 per cent to 3,842; and Spanish was down 2.7 per cent to 8,460, according to data from the Joint Council of Qualifications (JCQ).Commenting on the results, a Russell Group spokesperson said the group remained “concerned” about the situation.”If the UK is to engage fully with the wider world in business, diplomacy and academia we need more young people studying languages,” they said.Vicky Gough, schools adviser at the British Council, added: “While it is fantastic that some less traditional languages have seen a rise in uptake in the past year – Japanese is up by 6 per cent and Arabic by 14 per cent – it is worrying that the more traditional languages have suffered a downturn. “The reality is that language learning matters to the UK now more than ever. Not only do language skills boost job prospects but as one of the first opportunities that our young people have to connect with another culture, they are vital for the country’s place in the world too.” For anyone collecting A-level results today, you can now find out whether you have got into the university of your choice. For those who have been accepted, congratulations. For those who haven’t, don’t panic (you certainly won’t be alone). There are other options open to you, including Ucas Clearing. You can start checking for vacancies now, but to apply you will need to have your grades in hand, so make sure you pick these up from your school or college.Check out our guides• Step-by-step guide to Clearing• Step-by-step guide to Adjustment• Step-by-step guide to A-level Results Day 8:06AMUcas Track is open @DoverCollege’s #alevelresults are the best for four years and here’s the jump, @JosieGurneyRead, to prove it! pic.twitter.com/2YVULJqz5D— Dover College Head (@DoverCollegeHM) 18 August 2016 1:36PMDysfunctional A-level marking system does students an injustice 10:10AMElite universities still have thousands of places in Clearing 11:25AMSkills taught at school must improve young people’s employability 11:15AMA Master’s level qualification, in five years, with no student debt? It’s worth considering an apprenticeship 8:01AM’A-level grades should be abolished’ Search for Clearing vacancies onlineDownload the Clearing app on iPhone or Android General studies is in steep decline. The number of candidates taking the subject has fallen 87 per cent over the past 15 years, from 87,930 to 11,759. Three subjects already have candidate levels below the 1,000 mark. Critical thinking was sat by just 117 entrants in 2016, Irish by 331 and Welsh by 610. Only one subject has doubled its number of candidates over the past 10 years: further maths. The number of entrants has gone up by 110 per cent since 2006, from 7,270 to 15,257.Computing was the most male-dominated subject in 2016, but there are signs the gender balance is beginning to shift. This year 90.2 per cent of entrants were male, down from a peak of 93.5 per cent in 2013. However, the year-on-year growth rate for males was just 14 per cent, compared with 34 per cent for females. predicted grades vs actual results #alevelresults pic.twitter.com/9cHHegvVS3— ed smoth (@ed_smoth) 17 August 2016 11:05AMWhat subjects are students taking? Nick Gibb, the schools minister Over 300,000 sixth form students today collected their A-level results, as record numbers were accepted onto university courses.Some 424,000 students had been accepted to UK universities and colleges by the morning of August 18, the highest number recorded on A-level results day, according to Ucas.The number of EU students placed at UK universities and colleges was also the highest on record, increasing to 26,800 amid a pre-Brexit scramble for places. In other results, the gap between boys and girls achieving the top A*grades narrowed this year, with male students gaining 8.5 per cent of top A* grades compared with 7.7 per cent for females.It also emerged that the proportion of top grades (A*-A) fell by 0.1 percentage point to 25.8 per cent compared to 25.9 per cent last year.The news comes amid ongoing concerns about the appeals process, with some heads warning that recent reforms by Ofqual could lead to some of the “most unfair results in a generation”.Figures also revealed that entries to modern foreign languages have continued to decline, with French down 6.4 per cent to 9,672 this year; German down 4.2 per cent to 3,842; and Spanish down 2.7 per cent to 8,460. 7:31AMA-level Results Day 2016 Writing in the Telegraph today, Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has warned that post-16 education has become the poor relation of the education system – and that cuts in funding are beginning to limit subject choice for our students.Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that education spending on 16- 19-year-olds fell by 14 per cent in real terms over the last parliament.This has left post-16 providers in an extraordinarily difficult situation. The base level of funding per student in post-16 education is £4,000 per year. Schools funding for pre-16 pupils varies widely across the country, but it averages out at about £4,730 per pupil. Don’t get me wrong, there are many schools at the lower end of the funding range which receive less than this and are also struggling financially. The point is that post-16 education is particularly poorly funded. 10:49AMHow to make the Clearing phone call We’ve already seen Dover College head, Gareth Doodes, but now Andrew Matthews from Latymer Upper School, our 2014 winner, has thrown the competition wide open with this spectacular leap.Keep sending them in (email@example.com or @JosieGurneyRead) 2:36PMKey long-term trends in the popularity of A-level subjects 8:22AMEntered into Ucas Clearing? Don’t panic If your A level results are disappointing, don’t worry. I got a C and two Us, and I’m currently on a superyacht in the Med.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) 18 August 2016 Ashley Kirk also writesthat while there has been a slight fall in the gender gap between boys and girls achieving the top grades, there is still a significant divide when it comes to what students are taking for their A-levels. In a trend that continues into university study, subjects such as computing and physics are dominated by boys while girls flock to courses on performing arts and sociology. 8:28AMRecord numbers accepted to universities Ashley Kirk has been looking at the figures. Just over a quarter of A-level students gained an A* or A this year, following a trend which has seen the proportion drop from 27 per cent in 2011. In case the earlier video wasn’t enough, here’s another. Congratulations to students at The City Academy in Hackney on their A-level results today. According to analysis from Ashley Kirk, the most popular subjects in 2016 are maths, English, biology, psychology and history. He writes:Some 92,200 students decided to take maths this year, while 84,700 took English and 62,700 opted for biology. But during this decade, there has been a consistent increase in the number of students opting for computing and further maths. The number of students taking computing this year has increased by 56 per cent since 2011, while further maths now has a quarter more students. This comes at the price of subjects such as general studies and critical thinking, which are not recognised by many top universities and currently see almost half the number of entries they had in 2011. And well done to our other excellent entries. 12:07PM(Head) teachers ‘jump for joy’ Another addition to our competition, Kim Harrison, head of year 13 at Haydon School Sixth Form celebrates her students’ results. Twenty-seven per cent of A-level and BTEC results were marked at A* and A grades and 49 per cent at A* to B. 9:38AMGap between boys and girls at top A*grades has narrowed 9:50AMThe best and worst performing A-levels revealed Ashley Kirk has created this searchable table, detailing the percentage of people achieving different grades in A-level subjects. How do you compare? 10:38AMSyllabus upheaval and cuts to budgets have affected resources 10:55AMUniversity receives thousands of calls for medicine in Clearing Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of today’s A-level Results Day. Good luck to all those who will be collecting their results today. Just in case you are in any doubt whatsoever over where you should be today and at what time, make sure you refer to our handy graphic.Ucas Track goes live at 8am – so you will soon be able to see whether you have made it into your university of choice. However, you will not be able to see your actual grades; you will need to go into school or college to pick these up.If you are worried that you might be in Clearing this year, you can start browsing vacancies now online or you can download the Clearing app on iPhone or Android. Listings are also available in today’s paper, if you fancy having a hard copy.Nationwide results and analysis will be published at 9.30am. 2:23PMDouble act for twins Alice and Florence Sanders White Eleanor Doughty has put together these tips on making that all-important Clearing phone call. If you haven’t found a place yet, make sure to download the Clearing app on iPhone or Android. You can’t enter Clearing details into Ucas Track until 3pm, so you still have plenty of time.Keep everything you need close to hand when making the phone call – your UCAS Track number; a handy list of your grades, including your GCSEs; your personal statement; and the university’s UCAS number, plus also its clearing code.Make notes as you go along. Sounds obvious but keep every ounce of information on a piece of paper – names, email addresses, numbers, codes etc. You’ll likely need them later on.Be positive. The person in the admissions office might not be able to see you, but they’ll be able to detect your mood in your tone. Don’t be all les mis about it – weeping won’t help you.For goodness sake make the phone call yourself. You wouldn’t ask your parents, really, would you? Well, don’t. They’re not the ones going to university. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. There’s one hour left to get your entries in for the coveted title of ‘best jump’ by a teacher/ head teacher.For those of you who are curious about the prize, it’s the kudos of the title you should care about.Some impressive entries so far. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JosieGurneyRead. 9:20AM’Waste of talent’ as disadvantaged pupils ‘fall through the cracks’ in higher education blackspots Abby Tomlinson, the girl who started a fandom for the former leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband, was on tenterhooks last night waiting to find out where she would be attending university in September.Abby, 18, a student at Cardinal Newman College in Preston, who rose to media fame during the 2015 General Election campaign when she created the “Milifandom”, was predicted to achieve A*AA in her A-level results this week. She had been offered a place at Newnham College Cambridge but just missed her offer, coming away with AAB in English literature, ancient history and religious studies. 4:22PMThanks for joining us today Twins Alice and Florence Sanders White studied the same subjects at A-level, got the same results, and are now both heading to the same university to study English literature.The girls, 18, pupils at Brighton College, both achieved straight As in English literature, history and politics, said that they are delighted with the results.Alice said: “I was so worried, not just for me, but in case one of us did not do so well. That would have been absolutely horrible.” In order to answer this burning question once and for all, vote in our poll. It’s looking pretty decisive at the moment, but things might change… As A-level Results Day arrives for thousands of students across the country, five Telegraph journalists relive their brown-envelope days.Claire Cohen: “I remember feeling increasingly terrified. I’d blown it. I was going to have to work at the local pub forever”Guy Kelly: “I’d adopted the age-old ‘minimum requirement’ attitude to my A Levels – and achieved just that” A lot has been said about the options available to students who have failed to get the grades they need for university. But what about if you have exceeded expectations?If you are completely happy with your choice, then don’t feel you need to do anything. However, if you are having doubts, there is always Ucas Adjustment.Ucas Adjustment gives overachievers the chance to ‘trade-up’ to a better university or course with higher grade requirements. You don’t have to give up your firm choice university to enter, and you will not lose your place at your firm choice, unless you are accepted elsewhere.You can register for Adjustment in Ucas Track, and then it’s down to you to call universities to see if they will accept you. There is no official list for Adjustment, unlike Clearing, so it’s up to you to be proactive.Once you have registered for Adjustment in Ucas Track, you will have five days to find and register on another course, or you will be accepted at your firm choice. The whole process closes on August 31, so, if you want to have a look around, you will need to do so before then.Check out our guide here. Anyone else feel like this? 11:30AM60,000 course searches made on Ucas so far The number of students accepted into universities and colleges is up 3 per cent on last year, according to figures just released by Ucas. 424,000 students have been accepted to UK universities and colleges so far this year, the highest number recorded on A level results day.Of these, 201,000 18-year-old applicants have been placed, an increase of 2 per cent on 2015 despite the population falling by 2.3 per cent, while 18-year-olds from the least advantaged backgrounds are 7 per cent more likely to be placed than in 2015.The gap between men and women is slightly narrower than in 2015, with 3 per cent more men placed in 2016. However, this still equates to 27,400 more young women than men placed at university. Take three and take four!Some excellent examples here. Emma Hattersley, head at Godolphin School, celebrates the school’s best results in three years. Have I got the gold high jump medal for our best results in 3 years? @JosieGurneyRead @GodolphinSchool #JumpForJoy pic.twitter.com/wYY64cpbu3— Godolphin Head (@GodolphinHead) August 18, 2016 The final entry to our competition comes from Stephanie Ferro, headmistress of Redland High School For Girls. The school were today celebrating a 100 per cent pass rate for students, nearly half of which were top A/A* grades. 3:27PM(Head) teachers ‘jump for joy’ 12:54PM(Head) teachers ‘jump for joy’ Javier Espinoza, the Education Editor, writes that the gap between boys and girls at top A*grades has narrowed for the first time in the last five years.Official figures have revealed that boys obtained 8.5 per cent of top A* grades in the UK compared to 7.7 per cent for girls – representing a narrowing of the gap between the genders by 0.1 percentage point for the first time in the last five years.It also emerged that the proportion of top grades (A*-A) fell by 0.1 percentage point to 25.8 per cent compared to 25.9 per cent last year. As students across the country pick up their A-level results today, head teachers have warned that changes to the appeals process could mean these results are “the most unfair in a generation”.In May, Ofqual, the exam boards regulator, made the decision to only allow re-marking if there were “clear errors”, in order to clamp down on exam appeals. But leading heads have argued that the reforms have been “rushed and flawed” . Chris King – chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) – argued that the changes to the exam appeal system will have “lifelong consequences” for bright pupils who will miss out on Oxbridge places by a few points because of subjective marking which they won’t be able to appeal.He told the Telegraph: “This unfair situation could have a seriously harmful impact on young people’s life chances.”Read Javier Espinoza’a full report here. Students have performed well in mathematics and foreign languages, while courses such as ICT and media studies have struggled to get their students achieving the top grades in 2016.Best performing A-levels 11:47AMPost-16 education ‘the poor relation of the education system’
Elsewhere pupils were sent home from a school in East Yorkshire after refusing to wear blazers as temperatures soared past 86F (30C).Kingswood Academy in Hull said the children were defiant over their uniforms, but parents complained that teachers had put their health at risk.Allergy charities also warned that the hot weather could trigger fatal attacks and said sufferers should stay away from rural areas and avoid leaving windows open at night and early in the morning when pollen counts were at their highest. Gritters were deployed to shore up failing roads as temperatures on the surface reached 104F (40C), causing them to melt.Cambridgeshire County Council took the decision to deploy the vehicles after motorists complained that their tyres had started ‘ripping the tarmac off the roads.’ Show more A group of actresses enjoy the warm weather in Green ParkCredit:Anja Riedmann / Barcroft Images “Our engineers are on site and, as is standard procedure, they are applying sand to mitigate the effect of the heat.” However the scorching give day heat wave will come to an end with thunder and hailstorms with 1.6 inches of rain expected to fall in an hour on Wednesday evening, sending temperatures plummeting. Drivers were warned by police to take care on the B1165 near Newton in Cambridgeshire, where the tarmac has melted, and Agnes Owen, who works at a service station nearby, said that it ‘sounded like cars were driving on water.’Evan Laughlin, from Cambridgeshire County Council, said gritters had been used to distribute granite dust to stabilise the road surface and stop bitumen becoming stuck on wheels. “Normally the roads stand the summer temperatures we get, but just this week it’s very hot,” she said. Asthma UK’s in-house GP Dr Andy Whittamore said: “The hot weather can trigger asthma symptoms in some people, increasing their risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.“People with asthma need to be on high alert as their airways may already be inflamed from high levels of pollen, which is a trigger for around 80 per cent of people with asthma. Heat and pollen can be a dangerous combination”.Allergy UK’s Nurse Advisor, Holly Shaw, said sufferers should shower and wash their hair after arriving home to reduce the symptoms and consider staying indoors when the pollen count was very high. Laura Paterson, Met Office chief forecaster, said: “Temperatures will peak on Wednesday. There will be torrential downpours and hail and this will see temperatures begin to come down.”The weekend is relatively unsettled, with more rain likely but there will be a fresher feel from Thursday.”The storm will move in from the west to affect parts of southern Scotland and northern England from the early hours of Wednesday.More extensive thunderstorms may then break out over a larger part of England and Wales from late Wednesday afternoon onwards into Wednesday night, leading to torrential downpours, frequent lightning and a chance of hail. Fans put on their sun cream due to the hot weather on day two of the 2017 Aegon Championships at Queens ClubCredit:Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for LTA Motorists in Tarleton, Lancashire also discovered tar on their wheels as the roads melted., while some commuters in Croydon refused to use trams after noticing the track appeared to be disintegrating. Transport for London said they had thrown sand down to help protect the rails.Rory O’Neill, TfL’s Director for London Trams, said: “The flexible sealant near the track has been softened by the current hot weather and although it is having no impact on the safe running of the tram network, we appreciate it may look concerning to customers. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, founder of the International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour, said: “We don’t have scientific evidence to back claims of canine autism, however, we have seen anecdotal evidence of dogs having a marked change in their behaviour (‘canine dysfunctional behaviour’). Symptoms are things like increased aggression or dogs becoming more fearful.“This could be down to any number of causes: the loss of a carer or the arrival of another dog. Some people link the changes to thyroid issues, but it is all down to individual circumstances.”Despite accepting these dog behavioral issues were a real problem, Ms Tenzin-Dolma said she “would not advise people against vaccinations due to fear of canine autism as there was a lack of scientific evidenThe comments came after ITV breakfast show Good Morning Britain tweeted: “We’re looking to speak to pet owners who haven’t given their pets vaccinations because they’re concerned about side effects – as well as people who have done so and now believe their pet has canine autism as a result.” “Distemper and parvovirus are still killers in pets – and the reason we no longer see these on a wider scale is because most owners sensibly choose to vaccinate.” We’re looking to speak to pet owners who haven’t given their pets vaccinations because they’re concerned about side effects – as well as people who have done so and now believe their pet has canine autism as a result. Tweet us or email GMB@ITV.com pic.twitter.com/ChWX9mu3mV— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) April 23, 2018 Scaremongering can lead to a loss of public confidence in vaccination and knee-jerk reactions that can lead to outbreaks of disease.BVA Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz The message was criticised by some users of the social media site, with one posting: “Please, please do not give airtime to this unscientific and dangerous mentality. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Dogs cannot get ‘autism’, the British Veterinary Association has warned, after the ‘anti-vaccine’ movement spread to pets.’Anti-vaxxers’ believe that immunisations have harmful side effects and may be the cause of autism in children – beliefs widely debunked by the medical community.This theory is increasingly being applied to pets, particularly in the US, and there are fears it is spreading to the UK and could cause already low vaccination rates to fall.The BVA said: “We are aware of an increase in anti-vaccination pet owners in the US who have voiced concerns that vaccinations may lead to their dogs developing autism-like behaviour.“But there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest autism in dogs or a link between vaccination and autism.”“All medicines have potential side effects but in the case of vaccines these are rare and the benefits of vaccination in protecting against disease far outweigh the potential for an adverse reaction.”Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz added: “Vaccinations save lives and are an important tool in keeping our pets healthy. “We know from the example of the MMR vaccine and its now disproven link to autism in children that scaremongering can lead to a loss of public confidence in vaccination and knee-jerk reactions that can lead to outbreaks of disease. “If a single person sees the segment and decides not to vaccinate their pet/child, that’s on you. This is not a case where ‘both sides should be heard’ – it’s factually wrong and harmful.”The BVA said: “While we welcome a platform for pet owners to discuss vaccinations, we’d be concerned about the adverse impact on pet health resulting from alarm such a show is likely to cause amongst pet owners if it does not offer a veterinary or scientific voice for a balanced perspective on the issue.” Pet vaccination rates in the UK are already falling. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report in 2017 showed that 25 per cent of dogs, 35 per cent of cats and 50 per cent of rabbits had not had a primary vaccination course when young, up on previous years.Usual vaccinations for puppies include protection against canine distemper; canine parvovirus; kennel cough; Leptospirosis; and parainfluenza.The BVA suggested that owners who fail to vaccinate their pets could be breaking the law, commenting that: “It is important to remember that under the Animal Welfare Act, pet owners have a duty to protect their animals from pain, injury, suffering and disease.“We know of no better, and scientifically proven, way to protect against disease than vaccination.”
Susie Hargreaves OBE, chief executive of the IWF, said: “This form of grooming is complicated and only possible because of the ‘anonymity’ the internet offers. “An offender may be, for example, a 40-year-old man. But by abusing a legitimate internet site to create a false profile, he could appear online as a 12-year- old school girl. Sadly, through this study we saw a range of grooming scenarios that abusers employ.”Charities called for tighter regulations of social media companies.Andy Burrows, NSPCC associate head of child safety online, said: “It’s time for tech firms to finally be held accountable. Too many children are abused on social media platforms, and it is time for industry to take responsibility and do more to tackle abuse at its source.” Children as young as three are live streaming images of themselves to online predators, the Internet Watch Foundation has warned. The organisation, which monitors abusive content online, said children were being groomed by strangers using a form of online game in which children agreed to activities such as “sexual posing” once they received a certain number of likes.”As the “game” proceeds, the child may agree to other acts – the higher the number of likes, the greater the victimisation,” the report said. Footage was often filmed in a child’s bedroom or a bathroom with the door closed, the researchers found. “In one case, the victim at intervals turned her attention from the webcam to engage in routine conversation with a parent who was outside the room,” the report found. Almost all the victims were female, with 69 per cent aged between 11 and 13.Its study of footage on the internet over three months between August and October last year found more than 2,000 examples of image and video captures of live-streamed child sexual abuse. In most instances the child was alone in the footage or images, but in some cases they showed a younger child and an older child together. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Calorie labels will be placed on millions of take-away menus in a bid to push consumers into healthier habits.Junk-food giants and chain restaurants will display the information on Deliveroo’s online delivery platform under the plans.Burger King, KFC and Jamie’s Italian are among the brands which have signed up to the changes, which will start being introduced in weeks.One restaurant behind the move said the labels would show their takeaways “were healthy enough to eat daily”.But critics said the actions by large chains were attempt to “nobble the competition” – warning that smaller independent restaurants with changing menus would face burdensome costs if such measures become compulsory.From next month, 500 restaurants offering takeaways via Deliveroo will start providing the information at the point of order. And all 17,000 restaurants which use the portal are being urged to follow suite.It follows pledges from ministers that calorie labels on restaurant meals and takeaways will become compulsory under the childhood obesity strategy.Ministers have yet to decide whether small businesses – such as independent restaurants, pop-up eateries and cafes – will be exempted from the plans, amid bitter divisions in the Cabinet.Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, has raised significant concerns about the plans, raising fears the costs will prove prohibitive to small businesses with ever-changing menus. Ms Truss has said the plans could result in job losses and higher food costs for consumers, but Downing Street insists they will go ahead.She has also voiced fury about related proposals, to cap the calorie content of millions of meals sold by restaurants and supermarkets.Those plans, revealed by The Daily Telegraph, have met a major backlash from food and drinks manufacturers, and triggered accusations of “nanny state” measures.The introduction of calorie information on menus was proposed last summer in the Government’s updated childhood obesity strategy. However details of how it will work – including a timescale for the compulsory measures – have yet to be agreed.Deliveroo said it intends introduce the changes voluntarily, in response to public demand, and a commitment to making healthy eating more accessible. However, the firm is also urging ministers to exempt small firms from compulsory labelling.It has signed up 500 restaurants from six major restaurant brands – Pho, Yo Sushi and Mexican chain Barburrito, Burger King, KFC and Jamie’s Italian – who will start publishing calorie counts on the delivery portal from next month. And it will write to all UK brands using the platform – encompassing 17,000 restaurants – urging them to sign up for the measures.The takeaway service is also going to introduce a new menu, picking out dishes which meet specific criteria – such as low in fat, salt and sugar – with meals flagged as “nutritionist recommended” if they pass muster.The company said it aimed to “dispel the myth” that takeaways could not be healthy.It follows polling of more than 2,000 adults which found 54 per cent wanted more information about the calorie content of foods ordered for delivery.Libby Andrews, marketing director at Pho said: “So much of our menu is healthy enough to eat daily, and we’re excited to share this information with our customers.”“We hope it will make Pho an even more popular option for a healthy night in.”However, she said the restaurant had no plans to introduce calories on their menus in restaurants.Jamie’s Italian intends to put calorie labels on its restaurant menus next month, as well as posting them on the Deliveroo portal, while Yo Sushi, Burger King and KFC already display calories in restaurants.Victoria Robertson, head of food innovation at fast-food chain KFC, said: “It’s really important to us that we give our fans all the right information they need to make informed choices, so we’re very happy to work with Deliveroo to display clear, understandable calorie information on the app.”Will Shu, founder and chief executive officer of Deliveroo, said: “Deliveroo’s outlook is simple: the way to eat healthy is by having more information and more selection.”Chris Snowden, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, said compulsory calorie labels could prove devastating for small establishments.He said: “Calorie labelling is a nice idea in principle but it would be disastrous for pubs, restaurants and cafes in practice.“Large chains with fixed menus will have no problem complying, but it will be hugely burdensome for smaller establishments. Most pubs, restaurants and cafes change their menus regularly and do not have fixed serving sizes. If this legislation comes in, it could spell the end of the dish of the day. By encouraging the government to impose calorie labelling on the entire out-of-home sector, the large chains are effectively trying to nobble the competition.”Caroline Cerny, Obesity Health Alliance Lead, said compulsory measure were needed to tackle the UK’s worrying obesity rates, which are the highest in Western Europe.Two thirds of adults are overweight or obese, as are one in three children leaving primary school.She said: “This cannot be a piecemeal, voluntary approach – calorie labelling should be mandatory for all restaurants, cafes and take-aways, with no exemptions, to create a level playing field and ensure people are able to make informed choices about the food they eat, wherever they choose to eat.”Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “For years this sector of the food industry has got away with delivering little more than processed junk and the customers are now calling time. They want to know more about what’s coming to them and adding calorie labels is a good start. The cynic will argue that Deliveroo it is acting before government makes calorie labelling mandatory but that’s immaterial.”A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “This shows industry is making positive changes in response to customers demanding better information about the food they eat. “Last year we announced our intention to introduce mandatory calorie labelling on menus to give all families the information they need to make healthier choices when on the go. We’re committed to involving businesses in this, which is why our consultation invited their views on how to make sure the process works for them.”Additional reporting Tom Mitchell Deliveroo is bringing in the measures on a voluntary basis, but ministers have said they will be compulsoryCredit:Mikael Buck Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Richard Branson posted another picture of himself looking at a board that was set up wrong in June last year Sir Richard Branson has been mocked for boasting of his love of chess while playing with the board facing the wrong way.In his blog, the Virgin boss posted a picture at his Necker Island retreat, stating: “I think chess is the best game in the world.”I love the fact that I can combine the thrill of risk-taking and strategy planning with a cup of tea and a nice chat with a friend.”Aficionados quickly pointed out that the picture had the board set up incorrectly.David Kramaley, of chessable.com, said: “This is no minor detail! It is absolutely crucial to get the board the right way. Mr Branson has somehow got the orientation wrong.”It is meant to be set up with a white square in the bottom right corner as you face the board. If you get that wrong, you’re not playing chess.” It is the second time Sir Richard has had it set up incorrectly.Last year he posted a picture, stating: “Business is like a giant game of chess: you have to make strategic moves, and learn quickly from your mistakes.”