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More than 700 primary schools have failed to reach minimum government standards in the three Rs

Joy ride: See Devon's coastline by boat

Great British Escapes: The coast

Explore the outer edges of our island heritage

Fire ravages home on private Green Island in Poole Harbour

Firefighters are tackling a blaze on an island owned by a multi-millionaire.

Search for ferry passenger halted

An air-and-sea-rescue search for a ferry passenger who is believed to be missing overboard was suspended last night after five hours.

Search launched for kite surfer

An air, sea and land search has been launched for a missing kite surfer.

Bournemouth hit by flash flooding

There was flash flooding today after torrential rain hit the south coast.

Last Weekend: Room for more on the Isle of Purbeck

"Burnbake campsite is full," said a woman's voice on the answering machine. "We do not take bookings. We will change the message when pitches become available."

Premier mulls Wytch Farm buy

Premier Oil is considering buying BP's 68 per cent stake in the Wytch Farm oil field in Dorset.

Bournemouth appoint Lee Bradbury as manager

Bournemouth have appointed Lee Bradbury as their new manager.

Chandlers forgive, and seek help for Somalia

Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple held captive by Somali pirates for more than a year after their yacht was hijacked, want to make closer contact with the people of Somalia and try to persuade the international community to help restore law and order in their country.

More tests on bodies of father and son

Police were conducting more tests today to find out what happened to a man found dead with his young son.

Pensioner is hurt 'tombstoning'

Coastguards warned about the dangers of "tombstoning" yesterday after a 75-year-old man jumped from an 80ft beauty spot and was seriously hurt.

Bournemouth starts its own weather forecast

Bournemouth has launched its own weather service, claiming a "disastrous" Met Office forecast put off thousands of potential visitors last year.

European herons relocate to Kent as temperatures rise

Britain has a new breeding bird species – or at least, it very nearly does. A pair of purple herons have begun nesting at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' (RSPB) reserve at Dungeness in Kent, and are thought to be sitting on eggs.

Millionaire wins battle to build eco home on own island

A millionaire has won a fight with planners to build a luxury eco-home on his own south coast island.

Conservationists hope fake nests will see ospreys stay

Ospreys, the majestic fish hawks which are spreading in the wilder parts of Scotland, the Lake District and Wales, are being offered the chance to set up home in the gentler landscape of Dorset – in fake nests.

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A Brazilian wandering spider
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World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

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Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past