Student

For us, the generation which in 2012 took that crucial, final step ahead towards higher education, the changes and challenges of the system came in waves. The first one, and perhaps the one with the biggest impact, was the rise in tuition fees.

Leading article: Great university expectations

On the face of things, it looks bad that a number of students leaving British universities this year are marginally less happy with their experiences on campus than last year's leavers. But it may be a good thing, because the substantial minority who were not satisfied constitutes a potent force for change.

Balls sacks governors over £1.6m bonus payments

The entire governing body of a comprehensive school was sacked yesterday by Children's Secretary Ed Balls following a row over bonus payments to its head and senior staff.

Waiter, this wine tastes like cat pee

New Zealand's crisp white wines are justly famed, particularly those from the South Island's Marlborough region. Now a study has analysed the taste of the country's most popular wine, sauvignon blanc – and those who quaff it might wish they hadn't.

Postgrad Lives: 'At the end, you get two Masters degrees, in just two years'

Sophia Buckley, 22, is halfway through the two-year Global Leadership Program offered by Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. By the end of the course – which includes time studying at Northeastern University in Boston – students have gained two separate Masters degrees: an MA in business and an MSc in leadership.

Last Night's Television: Right to Die? Sky Real Lives

A dignified departure

Diary of a Fresher: 'I've an eclectic bunch of friends – and all my lecturers are dotty'

After a tumultuous start, life here is beginning to settle down. The frantic jockeying for position in the first few weeks is over, and it's no longer acceptable to introduce yourself to random people or shamelessly ask for names. Socially, the beginning of the year was a slow burn for me – I ended up meeting one potentially good friend a day, until I was able to enter the dining hall on my own and always find someone I wanted to sit with. By then the time for meeting new people had suddenly and mysteriously drawn to a close. Everyone is now pretty much stuck with whatever friends they've made, and I'm left with several moderately good mates and countless acquaintances whose names I can't quite remember. Such is life. The first weeks of university would be a fascinating social experiment if I weren't in the middle of it.

The seven ages of love: 30s

It's a Saturday afternoon and I've been cleaning the kitchen listening to Bonnie Tyler's "Holding out for a Hero". "Where have all the good men gone, and where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?" My lodger comes in and purses his lips, Mrs Danvers style. He's getting a little fed up of playing the gay best friend. I turn off the music with suitable shame. "You don't need a hero, Joy. You need a nice boy who wears Converse boots and listens to music," says my lodger. "Is it really that difficult?"

Diary Of A Supply Teacher: 'I have to smooth his way in disputes'

I have a day as a Teaching Assistant, supporting an autistic lad whose regular TA is ill. He is due to move house in two weeks, so is already stressed, but he has seen me around before, and seems disposed to accept me with good grace.

Lecturers revolt over 'rate your tutor' website

As feedback goes it's a bit on the harsh side. "She is very kind and can be helpful but, boy, is she insane. The insanity leads to volatility sometimes which leads to her being not very kind."

Mary Bousted: The truth behind those A-level grades

Like other education ministers before him, Ed Balls has been badly briefed about tests. Every teacher knows that it's necessary to test pupils. The problems start when they have the wrong kinds of tests, and the results are used for too many purposes – at least 18 in England according to one senior figure. When tests are used for high-stakes targets, things start to go badly wrong.

Dog Years: A memoir, By Mark Doty

A dog-loving poet's memoir tackles the sadness of losing a pet and a partner

Some Came Running (PG)

I think I need to get to know the novels of James Jones better: he provided the source material not only for From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line, but this marvellously baroque, overblown drama. Frank Sinatra is a dried-up writer returning to the Midwest town where he spent a miserable boyhood, pursued by a fluff-brained floozy (Shirley MacLaine).

Professor Denis Cosgrove: Cultural and historical geographer

Denis Cosgrove was widely viewed as the pre-eminent cultural and historical geographer of his generation. He was a polymath reminiscent of the Renaissance humanists he admired, and his innovative and sparkling studies immeasurably deepened understanding of how changing Western perceptions have viewed, interpreted and transformed the world around them. His gifted teaching and dedicated supervision, no less than his dozen books and scores of essays, inspired colleagues and students throughout the humanities and the natural and social sciences, well beyond his chosen discipline. Indeed, interdisciplinarity was for him an article of faith.

Teachers demand blacklist of pupils making false allegations

A blacklist of pupils who have made malicious allegations of sexual abuse or assault against teachers should be compiled and made available to any school to which the pupil subsequently moves, union leaders have demanded.

You write the reviews: The Second Plane, by Martin Amis

I'm beginning to worry about Martin Amis. Make no mistake, this new book of 12 essays and two short stories shows that his writing powers are far from being on the wane, as some commentators suggest. The long story included here, "The Last Days of Muhammad Atta", lacks the focus and energy of the shorter story, "In the Palace of the End", but the essays are well researched and presented in Amis's typically provocative style. There are subjects, not just here but in other essays by Amis, that you would usually resist reading about, but not when Amis is the writer. You know that what you are going to get will be entertaining, witty, thoughtful and sometimes discomforting.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
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Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
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Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

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