News

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.

Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
World Cup 2014
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Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
Sport
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
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Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor