Arts and Entertainment
It's flat and watery, ... unlike the books that it inspires

Ministers in storm over 'easiest ever' A-levels

Record numbers to get top grade. Call for exam to be scrapped

A charter for pupils' conduct is a sad necessity

When Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, said recently that there should be "zero tolerance" of pupils' indiscipline, she was greeted with scepticism. These were fine words, but would anything happen in practice? Now, the National Union of Teachers - a group not always known for toeing the Department of Education's line - has taken the first tentative steps towards giving substance to these sentiments, and it deserves credit for doing so.

'Patronising' Kelly jeered by headteachers

Ruth Kelly was jeered by head teachers yesterday and accused of patronising them during angry exchanges as she outlined the Government's plans for education at her first speech to a teaching union's annual conference as Secretary of State for Education.

Why not leave school at 16?

Leaving school at this age did Julie Burchill, Richard Branson and Alan Sugar no harm at all. So why force a whole generation of eager young things to stay in class until 18?

Kelly may look like a schoolgirl. But she's passed her first big test

Ruth Kelly's appointment to the Cabinet two months ago was one of the more extraordinary of the Blair era. One of the features of Tony Blair's management style has been his willingness to give responsibility to people who are shockingly young. Many of the people who worked in his private office in opposition were in their 20s and yet his judgement was sound: they did not make mistakes. He has been more cautious in Government, but, as a young prime minister, he now has six ministers in his Cabinet who are younger than him.

A-levels to stay with new vocational diplomas

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly today pledged to keep A-levels and GCSEs, but said she would make exams harder.

The Sholto Byrnes Interview: Mo Mowlam: `People like me. I've no idea why'

From Labour darling to outcast, and now lads' mag sexpert with her own stage show, the fearlessly outspoken Mo Mowlam has retained her legion of fans. Except Tony Blair

Bright pupils to start degrees in 6th form

Bright sixth-formers should start studying for university degrees while still at school, ministers will say in a White Paper later this month.

Leading Article: The best way to stop children skipping school

ALL THE Government's efforts to cut truancy rates in England's state schools have been to no avail, according to the National Audit Office. Despite an outlay of pounds 885m and threats to jail the parents of persistent truants, truancy levels are unchanged.
Career Services

Day In a Page

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
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?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015