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Today’s top headlines from The Telegraph

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Welcome to your early morning news briefing from The Telegraph – a round-up of the top stories we are covering on Sunday. To receive twice-daily briefings by email, sign up to our Front Page newsletter for free.

1. Secondary school pupils forced back into face masks in lessons

Secondary school pupils will be asked to wear face masks in classrooms again as ministers draw up contingency plans to keep schools open amid fears of widespread teacher absences.

The measure will apply to students across the country in Year 7 and above, with the Government issuing new guidance just 48 hours before millions of pupils are due to start returning after the Christmas holidays. Read the full story.

2. Tony Blair knighthood ‘a kick in the teeth for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan’

Tony Blair’s knighthood is a “kick in the teeth” for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, anti-war campaigners have said.

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He was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry. Read the full story.

3. Tackle cost of living crisis by scrapping energy bill tax, Tories urge Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has been told he must intervene to address Britain’s cost of living crisis, with 20 Tory MPs and peers calling on him to scrap taxes on energy bills.

Five former ministers are among a group of backbenchers who are calling on Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, to step in amid fears that household energy bills could double to £2,000 by April. Read the full story.

4. Farmers to be paid to restore natural habitats in push to rewild countryside

Farmers will be given funds to restore natural habitats and rewild Britain under new government schemes designed to replace EU subsidies.

George Eustice will this week unveil plans for two new environmental land management schemes seen as crucial to halting the decline in biodiversity. Read the full story.

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5. Girls’ schools says they will not accept transgender pupils and ‘jeopardise’ their status as single-sex institutions 

A group of the country’s leading girls’ schools has said they will not accept transgender pupils because it would “jeopardise” their status as single-sex institutions.

The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), which represents 23 private schools as well as two academies, updated its gender identity policy guidance document last month to include a new section on admissions. Read the full story.

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