Chalk Talk: Free schools and fisticuffs

Just a few thoughts about the latest controversy over the Government's flagship free schools scheme.

Most likely to succeed: Certain character qualities are great for improving academic grades

Six of the best: the traits your child needs to succeed

Skilled teachers and top schools help, but researchers are increasingly discovering that what pupils bring to the classroom matters as much – or more – than what the classroom can offer them

Chalk Talk: The class act recognised for getting Japanese in schools

In a week in which the European Union Education Commissioner has been berating the UK for its approach towards learning foreign languages, it's good to see a language teacher winning the national award for teaching in a secondary school.

Judith Kerr Primary School in Herne Hill, south London

Auf Wiedersehen, pupils: UK's first Anglo/German state primary school opens

There are hopes that it will lead to a more enlightened attitude to learning languages, reports Richard Garner

The way schools are being ranked is to be scrapped by ministers

Controversial GCSE ranking system to be overhauled

Schools will be ranked on pupils' best eight GCSEs in future

Chalk Talk: The fight to strengthen local government's role in education

The trouble with Graham Lane was, as the former local politician revealed to Newsnight's presenter Jeremy Paxman on BBC 2 in the mid-1990s, that he was always rather too forthcoming.

Fair play: youngsters at The Television Workshop show off their skills

Are drama schools just for the middle classes?

No, says Chloe Hamilton, who talks to those in the industry who are trying to make it easier for children without means to get in on the act

Angela Akers, 42, pursued a successful career as a senior dental officer

Special report: Working-class pupils went to private schools under Margaret Thatcher’s abolished assisted places scheme - how did they get on?

Under Margaret Thatcher’s government, they were plucked from poverty and taken out of state schools to attend top private schools instead, courtesy of the state. 

Wilbury primary school tutor Alex Lee provides tuition in lunchtimes and after school

Revolutionary scheme aims to ensure private tutoring isn't just for the privileged

Richard Garner reports on a revolutionary scheme in which pupils from families who can't afford extra tuition get it paid for by those who can

Chalk Talk: In-depth research on schools often unearths some gems

I do love researchers – they are so fearless in their comments, ground-breaking in their recommendations.

Lyons Hall primary school in Braintree

What business does the private sector have running state schools?

Edison, the US for-profit company, was greeted with suspicion when it entered the British education scene. But 10 years and 200 school partnerships on, it has won round many of the doubters, writes Richard Garner

Chalk talk: A creative competition to help foster a love of literature

And now for a welcome move to foster more creativity in the classroom.

Olympic rowing heroines Helen Glover and Heather Stanning studied at Millfield, Somerset, and Gordonstoun, Moray, respectively

Don't get mad, get even: How state schools can emulate the private sector's sporting success

John Claughton - the chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference Sports Committee, the chief master of King Edward's School, Birmingham, and a former Warwickshire cricketer - argues that state schools could learn from private schools' record

Chalk talk: Stephen Twigg may still get one last chance to make a mark

All the talk has been of cabinet reshuffles in the run-up to the party conference season – but now it looks like they may be delayed until after it is over.

Chalk talk: Free school that plans to separate the boys from the girls

If at first you don't succeed... Regular Independent readers may recall that I championed the cause of a proposed free school in Lewisham, south London, which aimed to persuade local youth to stay away from gang culture.

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