Voices The Government has faced a barrage of criticism over the HS2 plans

The Government is looking to spend upwards of £50bn to improve a journey taken by only 2 per cent of commuters

Place guarantee for founders of free schools

Parents who set up the Government's flagship free schools would be guaranteed places under new admissions proposals being considered by ministers.

Youths face life for boy's murder

Three youths face life sentences after being found guilty today of murdering schoolboy Nicholas Pearton.

Pandorama back in reckoning for Gold Cup

In the fortnight still dividing jump racing professionals from their defining challenge, all they expect is for things to go wrong. For punters, equally, fresh positives for the Cheltenham Festival will be few and largely inconsequential. It would be wrong, however, to treat absolutely every racecourse gallop as stage-managed, every pronouncement of optimism as bland or meaningless. And Noel Meade, for one, surely deserves to be taken at his word, after working Pandorama at Leopardstown yesterday morning.

What's in the Welfare Reform Bill?

The Government has pledged the biggest shake-up of the benefits system in 60 years, saying that 2.7 million households will be better off and almost a million people will be taken out of poverty.

Online House Hunter: Back to school

Whether you have opted for that three-bedroom house in Twickenham or four-bedroom house in Finchampstead, choosing the right school is vitally important.

Events to focus on vocational training

The National Apprenticeship Service will host sessions and conferences for businesses and prospective young workers throughout Britain starting tomorrow as part of Apprenticeship Week.

A World By Itself, Edited by Jonathan Clark

"This volume cannot be a universal compendium," says Clark in the introduction to this massive history of the British Isles. "It can, however, give some sense of why historians find history important."

Teaching of Urdu has doubled in four years

The number of state secondary schools offering Urdu as a foreign language has almost doubled in the past four years, according to figures released today. According to a report by CILT, the national language learning centre, pupils at more than 10 per cent of schools study the subject – up from 6 per cent in 2007.

Mayor caught speeding by local schoolchildren

The Mayor of Doncaster has been caught speeding by children in a police road-safety exercise.

Former 'Blair Babe' rises to key Labour post

Yvette Cooper is one of the most powerful women in British politics and was once tipped to become Labour's first female prime minister.

Ofsted

On 14 September we reported, based on an Ofsted report and on a subsequent press briefing, that Ofsted had found that up to 750,000 children have been wrongly labelled as having "special educational needs". Ofsted has since clarified its findings. We are advised that the true figure was up to around 450,000.

Independent/Durham Business School MBA scholarships: High flyers spread their wings

If MBA student Tim Forber was hoping for a quiet fortnight to study for impending exams, he'll have been disappointed. Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the BNP all came to Oldham in the coming days ahead of the by-election – and Forber is the senior police officer in charge.

The Independent/Durham Business School MBA scholarships: International high flyers spread their wings

If MBA student Tim Forber was hoping for a quiet fortnight to study for impending exams, he'll have been disappointed. Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the BNP all came to Oldham in the coming days ahead of the by-election – and Forber is the senior police officer in charge.

The Top 50 Selective Schools at A-level

Click HERE for comment by Richard Garner, Education Editor, and full related links

The school point score is devised through a new system introduced by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the Government's exam watchdog. Under it, equal weight is given for each A-level with 270 points awarded for an A-grade pass, 240 for a B, 210 for a C, 180 for a D, and 150 for an E. The International Baccalaureate is also recognised with 1,380 points for a maximum diploma score of 45.

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Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices