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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.”

Bright pupils 'held back by league tables'

The best GCSE candidates are not being given the chance to excel due to government exam league tables, a head teachers' leader warns today.

Exam system in 'disarray'

As teenagers across the country anticipate their GCSE results this week, concerns were raised today that the exam system is in "disarray" and in need overhauling.

Weighting given to final A-level exam will help boys

Boys will narrow the gap in performance between them and girls in this year's A-level results, it was forecast today.

Alan Smithers: Letting schools do their own thing is a recipe for chaos

Iam warming to the new Government's policies. Binning academic diplomas, Sir Jim Rose's recommendations on the primary curriculum and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and the General Teaching Council all look good moves to me – provided they are replaced by something better. But I cannot see where the extended academies programme is going. Michael Gove has said many times that he has drawn inspiration from the charter schools in the United States and the Kunskapsskolan in Sweden. Some of the charter schools have impressive records. They have, however, tended to attract the better pupils, leaving other schools worse off. They have also tended to take fewer pupils with special needs and to have higher dropout rates. The apparent success of Swedish "free schools" is linked to home background.

Alan Smithers: 'So, who will decide on the curriculum now?'

Few in the present economic climate will be surprised that the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) is to be scrapped. It has become overblown financially and has lost its way educationally. The current curriculum is full of vacuous generalities about cultural understanding, collaboration and inclusion, but leaves us little wiser about substance. But this government faces the practical realities of what, if anything, is to take its place.

Alan Smithers: Why will no party be bold on school admissions?

Soon after I arrived at the University of Buckingham, the vice-chancellor affectionately dubbed me Comrade Smithers. On hearing this, an old friend snorted, "God, if they think you are left wing, what does that say about the rest of the university?" But in this election I find that I am to the left of all three main parties in wanting a simple, clear, centrally set structure for secondary education. The key to this is the admissions process.

Leading Article: Segregation is the root of the problem

The latest report from the Sutton Trust shows just how class-bound England still is. Being born to a parent with a university degree is more likely to guarantee a child top grades at school in England than in the USA, Australia and Germany. Why should this be? The researchers think that the stark inequality they uncovered could be due to highly educated parents ensuring their children have places at top-performing secondary schools – the "sharp elbow" syndrome. Such schools often have better resources and teaching. They are usually in expensive neighbourhoods, which means that parents from poorer areas may live too far away for their child to be awarded a place.

Selective schools not more socially exclusive, says study

Top comprehensives take less than their fair share of pupils from deprived homes

Hard labour for Newcastle after Lovenkrands lift

Newcastle United 3 Preston North End 0

Matt Gatward: Merson relives fear that replay could ruin a knees-up

View From The Sofa: Time of our Lives, Sky Sports

Alan Smithers: Why do the political parties have so little to offer us?

Am I alone in feeling gloomy about the prospects for education this year? It's not just the cuts. Schools are to be protected to some extent, which of course is very bad news for the universities heavily dependent on public funds. What bothers me more is that an election should be a time for taking stock and making plans, yet the parties have little to offer.

The real Rudolphs

You don’t need to visit Lapland to see Santa’s other helpers – there’s a herd of wild reindeer in Scotland. Lucy Gillmore meets Hobnob, Flapjack and friends

Brief respite before more rain sweeps in

Parts of Cumbria worst hit by floods will get some respite from the rain tonight but more bad weather is expected over the weekend, a forecaster said.

Labour's campus revolution

Students given guaranteed access to lecturers and employment statistics of courses in return for higher fees

Richard Garner: There is much to be recommended in Mandelson’s blueprint

It is, of course, hard to argue with the concept that our universities should do their best to equip the nation with the skilled workforce that it needs to compete in the globalised economy of the 21st century.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada