Competitive parents who want to give the best present have raised the stakes in classrooms across the country

Reports of presents including Tiffany bracelets and opera tickets leads to concern that teachers' gift-giving is becoming 'over commercialised'

The most common gift for teachers is chocolates, with 85 per cent of staff having received some

Chalk Talk: The closure of Harrowden Middle School in Bedford is an own goal

I have often written about headteachers facing the sack after a poor report on their school by Ofsted. Headteachers' leaders such as Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, and Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders, call it "football manager syndrome".

End games: headteacher Deirdre Murphy at a farewell party for the pupils

Harrowden Middle School's pupils are thriving, and Ofsted has praised it - so why is it closing?

Richard Garner reports on a bizarre educational decision
Pitch perfect: Felsted’s Nancy Hebron, who has trained with the England team

Success of the England women's cricket team inspires girls to take up game in record numbers

Richard Garner reports on a grass-roots revolution

The Children's Bookshow competition is a chance for young readers to be writers

The competition, which is backed by The Independent, is is taking to the roads again with a nation-wide tour of 15 major cities

Chalk Talk: More free schools won't necessarily mean more good schools

Just a comment on the announcement of the next tranche of free schools by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Amy Chua is the author of the controversial book, Battle
Hymn of the Tiger Mother

How to help your child do well at school: 'Helicopter parents' and 'tiger mothers' should back off, say researchers

Researchers in the US came up with the astonishing finding that parental involvement in children's schooling makes no difference at all to test scores and exam grades. So what does help them learn better?

Chalk Talk: Prominent education figures feature in Queen's Birthday Honours list

Just to note that some of the most prominent figures in the education world over the past two decades are celebrating this week as a result of the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The head of schools watchdog Ofsted said headteachers should be able to fine parents for being

Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw: Give headteachers power to fine 'bad' parents

Mr Wilshaw says levy should be imposed on parents who fail to turn up to parents evening or on those who don't enforce homework

Chalk Talk: Free school statistics that may not quite add up

An intriguing insight into the Government's flagship free schools policy was given last weekend at the Northern Rocks education conference in Leeds.

Game on: Christopher Whittaker (left) with fellow student Jay Gilmore

Network of career colleges will directly help prepare students for the world of work

Richard Garner visits Oldham College, where the innovative courses, with input from local employers, are already up and running

Chalk Talk: Shakespeare can be child's play

To the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare's 450th birthday celebrations have spawned a new initiative designed to help five- to 11-year-olds celebrate and appreciate the Bard's works.

Jack Hatch, the headteacher of St Bede Academy in Bolton (Jon Super)

St Bede Academy offers parents private nursery care as well as breakfast and after-school clubs

Could its wraparound childcare be a model for schools in the future, asks Sarah Cassidy?
A seat at the table: not all pupils thrive within a purely academic curriculum

Chalk Talk: Teaching is a dream job for many - not that they'd recommend it

I have this dream: I turn up to one of the teachers' union conferences and someone is on the rostrum extolling the virtues of their job and saying how happy they are in it.

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Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

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Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?