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.

Round-up: Durham edge closer to title after dramatic Derbyshire collapse

Durham moved to within one win of clinching their third County Championship in six years with an astonishing victory over Derbyshire at the County Ground, where the home side were skittled out for just 63 in their second innings.

Brown was 78 not out at close of play

County Championship round-up: Durham make slow progress as Brown punishes Yorkshire

The September scourge of unreliable weather may yet play a part in determining a County Championship that has the potential to provide another close finish. None of today's matches escaped interruption, with First Division leaders Durham suffering the biggest frustration.

Surrey spend money on the likes of Kevin Pietersenm, seen here celebrating, Durham’s Mitchell Claydon cashes in

County cricket: The north-south divide in reverse

Money-bags Surrey are bottom while little Durham are top. How come?

Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the mainstay of the Derbyshire second innings

Cool Chanderpaul gives Derbyshire hope

After the first match of England’s one-day international series against Australia at Headingley was declared a washout yesterday afternoon, it was left to the County Championship to fill centre stage.  A deluge  overnight and throughout the morning meant that the likelihood of any play was quickly dashed, with the sides due to reconvene at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Usman Arshad: Seamer picked up two wickets in two balls to follow his 34 with the bat

Sussex fold as Durham take giant stride to title

Durham 245 & 268-8 dec Sussex 112 & 116 (Durham win by 285 runs)

Paul Collingwood made a vital 45 to steady Durham

Paul Collingwood and Phil Mustard put Durham within reach of summit

Durham 245 & 212-6 Sussex 112

Mark Stoneman was the leading contributor

Mark Stoneman builds Durham's unexpected title credentials

Durham 245 Sussex 60-3

Paul Collingwood of Durham bats during the LV County Championship division one match between Yorkshire and Durham

The Light Roller: Stay alert for a classic Championship climax

The diary of a cricket obsessive

County Championship round-up: Victorious Durham in pole position

Durham made themselves favourites for the Championship when the perseverance of their depleted bowling attack was rewarded with a seven-wicket victory over leaders Yorkshire, who saw their lead slashed by 20 points.

England Women seal Ashes success with easy win over Australia

England Women sealed their Ashes success with a comfortable seven-wicket win in the third NatWest Twenty20 international at Chester-le-Street.

Drink driver caught by police eight times over the limit

36-year-old woman was stopped by Cleveland Police in Redcar

County Championship: Durham face Yorkshire decider

Durham set up a potential County Championship title decider with Yorkshire at Scarborough when they moved into second place with an innings and 144-run win at home to Surrey.

Jamie Harrison
Goodwin completed 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the 10th time
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game