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Professor Robert Coe, from Durham University:  “This seems to underline the view that improvements in GCSEs and some other examinations have had more to do with grade inflation than real sustained improvements over time.”

If we want a fairer education system we must start by putting less pressure on kids

Richer parents will always buy into extra provision – so why not ensure all pupils are put on a more equal footing

‘Old habits’ return to early academies as A-level results slump

Research shows tail-off in performance at the first state schools granted new status

Schools on course to miss Government's GCSE exam target

The science pass rate is set to drop as a result of examiners making physics, chemistry and biology papers tougher

Boys will be boys: Gender divide is growing fast at A-levels

Girls shy away from maths and science and fewer boys opt for English and creative subjects

A-levels: Probe into languages teaching as pupil numbers continue to fall

Two major investigations have been launched into the state of modern foreign languages in the wake of yet another slump in the number of candidates taking the subject at A-level.

Hannah Short celebrates grades of A*, A and B at Brighton College in East Sussex

A-level results 2013: Number of pupils scoring top grades drops for second year running

The number of top grade passes at A-level dropped for the second year running, results showed today.

The slump in applications from boys runs through all social strata

Higher university tuition fees 'putting off working-class boys'

Boys are more likely to shun university as a result of the rise in tuition fees, according to new research.

Scott Parker in action against West Ham last week

Age no barrier for Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker who sets his sights on the World Cup

The 32-year-old is hopeful of being included in squad for Rio 2014

Gove 'talked up' league table slide

England's much-lamented slide down the international education league tables may not be as bad as it seems, according to a report by a leading academic.

Hamish McRae: Markets' merry Christmas despite triple-dip talk

Economic View: Monetary policy has started to be counterproductive as it has all sorts of negative effects

Something to think about: i, the concise, quality newspaper, is on the lookout for self-motivated, energetic and organised Student Brand Ambassadors

Financial incentives – and free laptops – to be offered as universities try to woo students

Bright A-level candidates are being wooed with financial incentives this autumn as universities struggle to cling on to high-flying students.

Father jailed for stabbing man to death for asking if his daughter was all right

A father was jailed for at least 26 years today for killing a man for asking if his crying daughter was all right.

All Rhodes lead to Wembley for Huddersfield

Huddersfield set up an all-Yorkshire showdown with Sheffield United at Wembley on Saturday week as they went through to the League One play-off final 3-2 on aggregate despite losing 2-1 to MK Dons.

I may look to be joking with David Seaman, but inside I'm hurting after Sheffield United's 2003 FA Cup defeat

Neil Warnock: My lifelong love for the Cup has always gone unrequited

What I Learnt This Week

Double from captain Holt helps Norwich defeat Magpies

Norwich 4 Newcastle 2

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project