News Dr Andrew Davis claims rival camps in the debate over how to teach children to read are acting like 'religious fundamentalists'

Children who are fluent readers are being damaged by the Government’s insistence on using synthetic phonics in the classroom, a leading academic warns today.

Franco di Santo

Wigan not only a stepping stone for players insists Roberto Martinez

A number of players have moved on to 'bigger' clubs

Maicon: 'We can't afford to have any more distance between us and
the teams at the top of the league'

Maicon predicts Champions League success for Manchester City despite back-to-back failures

Manchester City full-back Maicon is certain the club is destined for Champions League success.

Pardew has expressed his astonishment at Chelsea counterpart Roberto di Matteo's departure just six months after winning the Champions League.

Alan Pardew 'astonished' by sacking of Roberto Di Matteo

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has expressed his astonishment at Chelsea counterpart Roberto di Matteo's departure just six months after winning the Champions League.

What does being a moderate mean? Answer: David Brooks

For over a decade, David Brooks of the New York Times has been probably the most influential columnist in America. Influence is impossible to measure, of course, but one reason he has thrived is that politicians of all sides take his calls, thinking he will judge them according to their merit, and not because of ideological predisposition. That is a central tenet of what it is to be a moderate, and he devotes his column today to a lengthy exploration of that word.

Wolves coach has more over-30s in his squad than any other in Super League

Tony Smith has faith in senior service

Warrington coach hopes Wolves prove Old Trafford can be a country for old men

Ed Miliband reiterates 'One Nation' vision

Ed Miliband has set out his vision of “One Nation Labour” as a way to create a country “where everyone can play their part”.

Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies faces an uncertain existence as austerity begins to bite

As a further sign that Italy's priceless cultural heritage is under threat from stifling bureaucracy and government bean counters, one of the world's most important philosophy libraries is facing oblivion.

The former England coach Brian Ashton is wanted by Sale

Sale keen for Brian Ashton to team up with Danny Cipriani

Sale, brimming with ambition ahead of the new Premiership season after making significant strides on and off the field, are hoping to tempt the former England coach Brian Ashton back into big-time rugby.

The White Cliffs of Dover

Why there'll be a few words over the White Cliffs of Dover...

National Trust appoints writer to explain their enduring pull on British identity

Nicholas McCarthy: The concert pianist who decided to take on the world – single-handed

Royal College of Music graduate is astounding sell-out audiences after overcoming prejudice

Matthew Norman: Has Barack Obama just been handed victory on a plate?

Romney may wish to frame the election as a choice about the budget. But the true battle is ideological

Neal: Plato is in ideal form

Matt Neal is steeling himself for an onslaught over the second half of the season from British Touring Car Championship rival Jason Plato.

Enigmatic: Marker at the Telluride film festival in 1987

Chris Marker: Influential writer and film maker

Chris Marker, who died on his 91st birthday in Paris was a man of many parts: film-maker, travel writer, piano player, novelist, actor, typographer and perhaps the first great artist of the digital age. Marker delighted in secrecy; he never abandoned the habits formed as a member of the clandestine French Resistance, and was assiduous in spreading false rumours about himself. He was born in 1921, Christian François Bouche Villeneuve, although there is some dispute as to where. Neuilly sur Seine – where he grew up – would seem obvious but Ulan Bator Outer Mongolia was Marker's own preferred birthplace.

Boyd Tonkin: Thank God Gore Vidal lost that election in 1960

Writers thrive best on the edge of the political volcano and resist the temptation to dive in

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
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
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

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?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'