Hamish McRae: Primary school maths whiz kids are set up for life

An important, if troubling, bit of research has just been published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, backed with some government money.

Rizzle Kicks have been confirmed for the Isle of Wight Festival

Hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks set sights on Hollywood

Rizzle Kicks could be heading to Hollywood after the hip-hop duo admitted they were thinking of making a film and have roped in Plan B to help out.

Robert Fisk: Alawite history reveals the complexities of Syria that West does not understand

The maps long favoured in the West partition off Arab countries into ethnic divisions, but all these make clear is our own ignorance

Egyptian riot police arrest a young man during clashes with protesters at a demonstration near Tahrir Square, Cairo, earlier this year

Young children detained and tortured after protests in Egypt

Activists speak out over 'unprecedented level of institutional abuse of children'

Matthew Crawley and Lady Sybil, centre, in Downton Abbey

Julian Fellowes: I was sorry as everyone else to kill off Matthew and Sybil

The Downton Abbey writer said he had no option but to write the dramatic demise of key characters

Dave Eggers: Has a gift for telling real people’s stories

Review: A Hologram for the King, By Dave Eggers

Waiting for royalty: A tale of endless Arabian nights

Education is in trouble in the UK

Far too many students have a weak grasp of spelling and punctuation - the English Baccalaureate could have been a way of rectifying some of these problems

New energy switching website promises to keep users on cheapest deal by constantly monitoring their tariff

A new energy switching website which promises to keep users on the cheapest deal by constantly monitoring their tariff could finally shift the market in favour of consumers, its founder claims.

One Minute With: Lucy Caldwell, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Small farms are critical in the fight against hunger

60 per cent of the rural population in Sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty; helping small farms conserve their harvest better can make a huge difference

American Justice, Arts Theatre, London

Could you bring yourself to forgive the murderer of your child? There are remarkable people who manage to do so – such as Gordon Willis spoke those heart-rending and politically transformative words after the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing. Most of us, though, find it easier to put ourselves in the position of Julie Nicholson who, when her daughter died in the terrorist atrocities of July 7 2005, was unable to reconcile her feelings with her role as a priest in Bristol and made the difficult, honourable decision to resign from the ministry. 

We need to find new ways to teach English to immigrants so they don't miss out on the joy of 'The Only Way Is Essex', says Eric Pickles

New ways to teach English to immigrants must be found so they do not miss out on the “enormous joy” of TV show The Only Way Is Essex, Eric Pickles has said.

The prison book club that teaches inmates how to read

Once a week, a small group of inmates gathers in the day centre room at London’s Pentonville Prison to read aloud together. Some do so falteringly, others with more confidence – but all have accepted a challenge to read six books in a year, or before they leave prison.

Page 3 Profile: Julia Donaldson, author and children's laureate

Angered by closure of libraries?

Mike Blair 'always gives something back', says his coach, Andy Robinson

Chris Paterson praises 'gifted' Mike Blair

Blair announced his international retirement yesterday

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?