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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Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam