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15 changed over so far, but many more could follow, says Lord Adonis

A-levels must be revamped, says head of exam board

A major review of the A-level grading system is necessary to maintain public confidence in the exam, the head of one of the country's biggest exam boards said yesterday.

Past masters: The PhD students who are giving history a lift

A university society is challenging the model of doctorate study, creating a sense of community – with a flash of colour. Michael Prest visits Leicester’s New History Lab

Leading Article: Counting the hours

Today's report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) returns to the issue of how much formal contact time students have with academic staff in universities and finds that there has been little change. Students on average get a meagre 14.5 hours of lectures, seminars and lab sessions a week compared with 14.3 in 2007. Some universities are taking action. Lancaster and the LSE, for example, have given their undergraduates a pledge about how much contact time they can expect, and Manchester is reviewing its practice.

Trainees sign up to teach maths and science

Increasing numbers of people are signing up to train as maths and science teachers, figures showed today.

Davos diary: A chance to share memories of Corfu

Tory shadow Chancellor George Osborne is in town, but will he find time for a drink at Oleg Deripaska's soirée after all those shenanigans in Corfu? The Russian tycoon has bought his own Davos chalet just so he can host the bash, having decided that the party he held last year, at Nat Rothschild's place in down-the-road Klosters, was a bit of a pain for everyone to get to. Mr Rothschild is expected at the Deripaska shindig too, so this could be the ideal moment for the three to reminisce about those long summer nights. What a pity Peter – now Lord – Mandelson isn't here to complete the set.

Parties: It's full-on at half-term

When the London College of Fashion held a catwalk show and after-party on 27 October to kick off its inaugural Fashioning the Future summit, a series of seminars on the subject of sustainability, your average punter would have been hard-pressed to spot a famous face. But for the clamouring students, a veritable dream line-up was present, from the ever-dapper Jaeger chairman Harold Tillman and ex-Topshopper Jane Shepherdson (now of Whistles) to Browns boutique owner Joan Burstein.

Inside the world of the celebrity assistant

They're the unsung heroes of showbiz – the assistants who pander to every whim of Hollywood's pampered A-list. Guy Adams enters a world of paranoia, poodles, and lobster thermidor at 2am

Steve Richards: The Tories want to deliver improved public services. But does their approach add up?

By coincidence the Conservative leadership and a left-of-centre pressure group held seminars this week on precisely the same theme. Both debated the role of the state in delivering public services, a pivotal policy area and one that impacts on all our lives. The first gathering took place on Tuesday, attended by David Cameron and several members of the Shadow Cabinet. The second was held yesterday morning under the auspices of Progress, described often as "Blairite" in outlook.

Brown pledges shake-up of social care

Gordon Brown today pledged fundamental reform to social care of the elderly and disabled in England as the Government warned that the system is facing a £6bn funding gap within 20 years.

Kevin McCloud: How to embark on an odyssey of passion, aspiration, creativity and pure effort

Building your own house s a primal urge, one of those universal genetic drives like the need to provide for your family. It's also a mammoth and somewhat frightening exercise that can take years to complete and cost so much you could stump up a Premiership footballer's wages for a few months instead.

FA launches investigation into £50,000 thrown match

The Football Association has opened an investigation into The Independent's report yesterday that a footballer with a serious gambling problem has admitted to getting sent off deliberately after colluding with a bookmaker. The player owed the bookmaker £50,000, a source familiar with the situation told The Independent, and the bookie wrote off the debt when the player collected his card, as arranged, having profited from gambling on it.

Footballer 'fixed match to pay off gambling debt of £50,000'

How an 'epidemic' of addiction is destroying the careers and lives of some of the game's top players

Preview: Sounds Like Music, City Halls, Glasgow

It's music, Jon, but not as we know it

Appointments secretary leaves Brown

The Prime Minister's appointments secretary is to leave Downing Street to be policy director for the Faith Foundation which is being set up by Tony Blair, sources have revealed.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea