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.
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Lake Annecy
Walking in Cyprus
Victoria Falls
Prices correct as of 26 September 2014
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?