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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.”

Meet the headteacher who is at war with Whitehall

It's been praised by Ofsted and the parents love it, but Newall Green in Manchester is facing a battle for survival – because it's failing to hit Government targets.

Alan Smithers: Why teachers are their own worst enemy

If I were a teacher I would be tearing my hair out at the Easter antics of the teacher unions. In their frantic pursuit of headlines they only succeed in alienating the general public. The National Union of Teachers takes the biscuit. On the first day of its conference it splashed research apparently showing that bad behaviour is increasing, all the fault of parents. Later, however, the story changed to pupils behaving better, except in a few unfortunate schools.

Professor Alan Smithers: Lessons of the Soviet Union should have been learnt

Far too many children have been leaving primary schools unable to handle words and numbers properly, and the Blair government was determined to do something about it. It believed it had found the way. Set clear targets for schools, devise strategies for teaching literacy and numeracy, and hold everyone to account.

Late baptisms soar as parents chase Catholic school places

Parents desperate for a place in oversubscribed Catholic schools are responsible for a surge in "late" baptisms into the faith.

Government loses faith in growth of religious schools

The Government has decided against backing more faith schools, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, Ed Balls, told MPs.

Alan Smithers: A new year of non-stop government initiatives

Another year, another education bill: this one compelling young people to remain in education or training until they turn 18. To pave the way, 17 diplomas for 14- to 18-year-olds are being introduced, the first five from September. Changes to curricula, qualifications, inspections and buildings are also due come into effect. Waiting in the wings is a 10-year children's concoction – not a plan – aimed at turning schools into centres for social services.

UK general admits to mistakes in Helmand

Nato forces are set to launch a spring "surge" in Afghanistan in an attempt to drive the Taliban out of Helmand and seal infiltration points along the Pakistani border.

Crouch: I'm in the mood for dancing

Giant striker plays himself into side with hat-trick as Sven laps up six-goal farewell

Ex-Kingfisher chief Mulcahy to chair retail lobbying group

Sir Geoff Mulcahy, the man who built Kingfisher into a major retail conglomerate, is to join the British Retail Consortium as its next chairman in July.

England players set price for glory

Manager faces fight he dare not lose

Keane's mutiny spells ultimate confrontation with the godfather of Old Trafford, says Sam Wallace

United pull plug on Keane's televised rant at team-mates

Welcome to the bizarre world of British football in 2005...

Slick Spurs the latest to suggest that United are now one-man team

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

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The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
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New leading ladies of dance fight back

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These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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