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.

DJ Taylor: Divisive, detached and intolerant

Modern Tories are showing their true colours with campaigns that are a long way from conservatism with a small C

Shooting stars: Young British photography talent is lining up to take on the rest of the world

More than 1,000 young artists from around the world are being celebrated in a major festival next month. Here, Holly Williams offers a sneak preview of some of the best home-grown talent.

Tom Hodgkinson: Tolstoy has been popping up a lot…

Most of us know Count Leo Tolstoy as the author of War and Peace, a big book that we haven't read. What is less well known about this remarkable individual is that he was a social reformer whose pacifist and anarchist ideas were to have huge influence in the 20th century and to this day. I say all this because Tolstoy has been popping up in my conversations recently: a Viennese journalist, flatteringly if absurdly, compared me to him the other day, and I have just started to read Anna Karenina.

Philip Hensher: Abolish all grades. Only then will GCSEs be useful for pupils and employers

One of the interesting things about the past week, as GCSE and A-level grades fell for the first time in more than two decades, was hearing outraged commentators saying that educational attainment shouldn't be subject to political manipulation. I quite agree. But what the hell do they think has been happening over the past quarter of a century?

The results show drops in the percentage of English, maths and science GCSE entries achieving passes at A*-C

Teachers accuse exam boards of acting 'immorally' as exam grades fall for first time

The first fall in top-grade passes in the history of the GCSE exam was revealed yesterday, prompting claims that exam boards acted immorally by raising grade boundaries at the last moment.

Michael Gove doesn't want to bring back O-levels

Education Secretary Michael Gove last night rowed back from plans to bring back O-levels to replace GCSEs.

Hamish McRae: The real worry is how have we fallen so far behind the rest of the world

Our system is at best in the middle of the global pack and at worst it is slipping down it

Lisa Freedman: GCSEs aren't too easy – just irrelevant

My 16-year-old son gets his GCSE results today. With a reasonable degree of luck, he should achieve a decent sprinkling of As and A*s to ornament his CV. A credit, without doubt, to his own hard work, some excellent teaching and his long-suffering parents. Nonetheless, I think the past few months have been a complete waste of his time.

Lisa Freedman: GCSEs are not too easy – they're just irrelevant

They're a hangover from an age when most students left school at 16

'Neet' teenager levels show rise

The number of teenagers who are not in school, work or training has risen in the last year, according to new figures.

'Tougher' syllabus to hit GCSE science grades

GCSE students have been warned to expect disappointing science grades this week as a "toughened-up" syllabus and strict marking guidelines take their toll.

Education officials admitted number of school playing field sell-offs has increased again

Education officials admitted the tally of school playing field sell-offs has increased again - just hours after being forced into an embarrassing apology for issuing misleading figures.

A-level success for siblings who fled from the Taliban

Four siblings who fled Afghanistan are celebrating after gaining a string of top grades.

Class of 2012 records biggest top grade drop in the history of A-Levels

The class of 2012 recorded the biggest drop in top grades in the history of A-levels today – and the first for 20 years – prompting claims from teachers that exam boards have succumbed to political pressure to reverse grade inflation.

Archie Bland: You're a posho, Benedict, just shut up about it

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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions