News Dr Andrew Davis claims rival camps in the debate over how to teach children to read are acting like 'religious fundamentalists'

Children who are fluent readers are being damaged by the Government’s insistence on using synthetic phonics in the classroom, a leading academic warns today.

Ben Stokes wants to become a key figure for England following his match-winning performance against Australia

ODI series: Ben Stokes hoping to become Englnad's go-to man following match-winning performance against Australia

Stokes hit a career-best 70 before taking four wicket for 38 runs with the ball

The Great Interior Design Challenge, TV review

You may also worry you're not conversant enough in current design lingo to get much out of new BBC2 series The Great Interior Design Challenge. Fear not. The only vocab you needed to enjoy last night's episode was "upcycle". It's a verb meaning "to take a perfectly decent piece of furniture and ruin it by the addition of some old tat you bought at a car boot sale".

Serving police officers have been found guilty of nearly 200 crimes in the past three years

Brothel-running, child abuse images, and selling firearms among nearly 200 crimes committed by police in last three years

Brothel-keeping and child porn among police officers’ crimes

Buried treasure: Miners who worked in Smallcleugh, one of the long disused mines nearby

Village digs deep into its mining past: Zinc deposits could return a once-thriving Pennine community to its glory days

A Canadian company has discovered that Nenthead may be sitting on one of Europe's biggest deposits

Album reviews: Lincoln Durham, Boy & Bear, Run The Jewels, Benjamin Clementine, Howe Gelb

Lincoln Durham, "Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous" (Droog)

Monty Panesar bowls in the nets at Adelaide as Alastair Cook looks on

Ashes 2013-14: Opportunity knocks for Monty Panesar to revive career following retirement of Graeme Swann

Monty Panesar was initially dropped by England in strange circumstances. Looking back nearly five years it was as though he was squarely to blame for the beach which doubled as a cricket pitch at the Sir Viv Richards Recreation Ground in Antigua.

Stabbed lawyer Peter Maine ‘may have killed himself’, police say

A solicitor at the centre of a fraud investigation may have stabbed himself to death, police said.

<b>'Crown of Light' - Ross Ashton, Robert Ziegler & John Del'Nero</b>
<p>This large-scale projection featuring illuminated manuscripts from the Lindisfarne gospels and other treasures from the North East returns to transform the exterior of the Cathedral for a final time. The son et lumiere is accompanied by an evocative soundscape.</p>

Gallery: Lumiere festival of light dazzles Durham

The spectacular show promises visitors "pure joyous fun"

The four students climbed up to the roof of the cathedral but were unable to get down

Durham students in drunken cathedral roof-top rescue

Four Durham students rebuked by dean after drunken prank goes wrong

Steve Harmison holds the Ashes urn with Andrew Flintoff in 2005

Former England bowler Steve Harmison announces retirement from cricket

Bowler was part of England's Ashes-winning team in 2005

Decriminalise drugs - even the police agree

The case for reforming Britain’s draconian but ineffective drugs laws is a robust one

Win bonus: Graham Onions (on the left) with Paul Collingwood after Durham win title

Ashes squad: Ambitious Graham Onions is crying out for one more crack at big time

Outstanding bowler behind Durham's Championship success this season has seen his England career stall through injury and stiff competition but is hoping for an Ashes swansong

Durham captain Paul Collingwood (c) and team celebrate with the trophy after winning the LV County Championship Division One title

Durham clinch County Championship title

Rain halted victory over Nottinghamshire before Durham clinched 62 runs required at Chester-le-Street

Paul Collingwood made an unbeaten 88 in Durham’s first innings

Durham coronation held up by Steve Mullaney's defiance

Nottinghamshire 78 & 246 Durham 256 & 7-0

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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas