Eleanor Doughty is dismayed at the news that some universities and colleges are offering rewards like fee reductions or laptops to students with good grades

Theatre: Strictly classroom

David Benedict applauds the latest adaptation of `The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie', but sees a production living in the shadow of its free- spirited protagonist

Non-PC? Only when we laugh

When even William Hague is right-on, it's time for comedy to cock a snook. Tobias Jones reports

Stranded in beauty

Emma Haughton and her family sailed to a rugged island in the Bristol Channel which they found far from cosy - and far from anywhere else. But they still want to go back

Where's the good life?

1,500 people a week flee cities for the country, and the Government is worried by the exodus. But as `Independent' writers explain, home is a state of mind - not just a place The country: `It isn't as lovely as you t

Investment Column: Noddy could save Trocadero

CYNICAL observers suggest that Trocadero, the AIM-quoted stock which is looking for a new title, should be called "Troubled Troc", the name that seems to preface any article about the group.

All jolly nice, and no spice

Bunty's boarding schools and jolly good sports could teach today's girls a thing or two, says Hester Lacey

Letter: Fathers of geology

Sir: This year represents, for scientists, an important double bicentenary - of the death of James Hutton and of the birth of Charles Lyell. These two men, both of them Scots, were the principal founders of the science of geology. At the time of their work, the formation of rocks was considered by some to be a product of great floods or other major terrestrial catastrophes, a consequence of the direct will of God. It was these two who turned wild speculation into good science.

New beginning for Trocadero

Losses for the six months to June of pounds 465,000 were disappointing but yesterday marked a new beginning for Trocadero. It finished offloading its physical assets to former parent Burford to leave the newly arrived management team of John Conlan and Nick Tamblyn (both ex-First Leisure) with a mix of intellectual property and leisure interests.

Cheltenham `97: Something for the children

Book It! the children's section of the Cheltenham Literary Festival, promises a huge range of often surprising delights this year. For the first time the Town Hall will hear the patter of four feet as well as two, as the stars - animal as well as human - of Animal Ark put in an appearance. Later in the week, a canine refugee from TV's Animal Hospital, Dolly the Dog, will be arriving with her owner, the writer and illustrator Lisa Kopper, to judge a competition of pet photos. For children wanting a deeper understanding of animal behaviour, Richard Brassey will be teaching his audience How to Speak Chimpanzee.

Reading about Jeep Disease makes me feel better

"When are you supposed to start flossing your children's teeth?" asked the fresh-faced young American mother of an 18-month-old, sitting opposite me in the doctor's surgery. Hell's teeth, I have enough problems getting my hands into my own mouth, which is why my flossing resolutions never last beyond three days after my visit to the dental hygienist. I suppose she thought that a mother of four would have all this kind of thing sussed by now and that we looked like a shining model of family health and hygiene. If only she knew. My four-year-old and eight-year- old both have fillings (you tend to give up the puffed-rice-cakes-only regime after the first baby) and all this week we have been bonding over the nit comb. Instead of feeling pleased that the male side of the family has escaped the scourge of head lice, I have been worrying that I don't have enough head-to-head contact with them. And we were sitting there in the doctor's surgery because I wanted to have one of the boys' moles checked out, just in case the three bottles of Factor 30 we got through on holiday hadn't been enough to stop a few rays of carcinogenic sunshine getting through. As usual, I had to content myself with the doctor's reassurance that my son's only affliction was a paranoid mother. This probably wasn't the time to mention that my medical dictionary also says that head lice can transmit the organisms of typhus fever ...


"Where can you find the Snoogle, the Nice-Looking Witch and Sir Stamp- a-Lot?" "Which Enid Blyton character was named after the writer's second husband?" "Why was Big Ears worried about Noddy?"

Politics: it's no laughing matter

Arts Notebook

How the Famous Five became a burden for Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton grew tired of writing her Famous Five books, and only continued because her publishers insisted, the author's daughter Gillian Baverstock told the Edinburgh Book Festival yesterday.

Noddy and Big Ears take on Mickey Mouse as Enid Blyton goes global

Once her name was synonymous with childhood and adventure. But now, increasingly, it will go with money-making.
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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
India & Nepal
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London