News Education Secretary Michael Gove

Ministers must try harder, declares organisation

Crusaders aiming to add Mason as Youngquest and Winterstein sign

Crusaders have confirmed their first two overseas signings for next season and hope Willie Mason could be the third. The relocated Welsh Super League club, who play their first game at Wrexham at the end of January, have recruited the Australian Nick Youngquest, who impressed at full-back for Gateshead in the Co-operative Championship this year.

Supermarket accidentally pays worker £1.4m

Bungling supermarket bosses have mistakenly paid an employee more than £1 million in wages.

Wolf Johnson becomes a Wildcat

Wakefield have completed their squad for next season by signing the former Great Britain utility player Paul Johnson on a one-year contract.

The Christmas arts round-up: It's behind you!

Or it will be if you don't book now for the best events of this festive season – from Pamela Anderson to Maurice Sendak, via indie rock-outs and old-school panto

Leigh thrown a lifeline by Gateshead demise

Coach Millward heralds 'new start' as club is spared demotion to third tier

Brian Viner: 'Much as it pains me to say it, Yorkshire is the best source of unusual words'

My friend Ian, who has lived all his 50-odd years in a village on the Herefordshire-Shropshire border, introduced us some years ago to an expression so localised that nobody I've tried it on in Leominster, eight miles down the road, understands what I'm on about.

Dave Hadfield: The future of Gateshead is a tough one

The RFL's board of directors faces a difficult decision on Friday when it discusses the future of Gateshead and, by implication, that of Leigh.

Saints fear Wolves raid for rising star Eastmond

Versatile 20-year-old's fine display for England attracts increased interest

MPs deny undermining Atkinson's reputation

MPs today rejected claims that they undermined the reputation of Maggie Atkinson by objecting to her appointment as Children's Commissioner for England.

MPs refuse to back Balls' 'children's champion' choice

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, faced embarrassment last night after a group of MPs refused to endorse his chosen candidate to become Britain's latest "children's champion".

MP who served Labour and Tories retires

A long-serving Conservative MP is standing down at the general election. John Horam, who represents Orpington, in Kent, has spent more than 30 years as an MP, serving as a minister in both Tory and Labour governments. The resignation of the 70-year-old, who was untouched by the expenses scandal, brings the number of Commons retirees to 108.

Sport in Brief: Magnificent seven medals for British sailors

Britain's Olympic sailors gave notice of more success in the build-up to 2012, taking seven medals in the finals of the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth yesterday, writes Stuart Alexander.

Ohuruogu ready to wind down following 'indifferent' season

The Olympic 400 metres champion, Christine Ohuruogu, is hoping to end an "indifferent" season by captaining England to victory at the Great North City Games today.

Prom 68, Northern Sinfonia/Nicholas McGegan, Royal Albert Hall, London

Two things are often forgotten about the Messiah: that it was written for Easter, not Christmas, and that its original audience would have been very well-heeled indeed. Only in Victorian England did it become the quintessential expression of the amateur choral tradition, sometimes involving as many as 4,000 singers; a remarkable thought, considering how musically taxing it is.

Prom 68, Northern Sinfonia/McGegan, Royal Albert Hall, London

Two things are often forgotten about the ‘Messiah: that it was actually written for Easter, not Christmas, and that its original audience would have been very well-heeled - seats at ten shillings and sixpence were the equivalent of top-price opera seats today.

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