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Professor Robert Coe, from Durham University:  “This seems to underline the view that improvements in GCSEs and some other examinations have had more to do with grade inflation than real sustained improvements over time.”

First UK private medical school to open. The cost? £35,000

The first private medical school in the UK will open its doors to students in January 2015. The Buckingham Milton Keynes Medical School will charge £35,000 per year for a ‘fast-track’ course lasting four-and-a-half years, as opposed to the typical five or six.

‘Old habits’ return to early academies as A-level results slump

Research shows tail-off in performance at the first state schools granted new status

Clearing tips: Be flexible, be prepared and don't panic!

If the final grades are too low but the university hasn’t sent their decision, the student needs to get in touch with them – they might be willing to accept lower grades. If not, then it’s imperative to research other options methodically. As parents, you have a role to play here.

Student finance advice: Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries are discretionary awards which are given by universities themselves and targeted at specific types of student. When a student is making decisions about which universities to apply to at Clearing, it is worth checking whether they are eligible for financial support. Information about what support is available can be found on the university website.

The Universities minister, David Willetts, said the move would focus attention on teaching quality

Profit-making university is just the start, minister says

Lecturers' leaders claim the record of profit making institutions in the United States show they cost students and taxpayers dearly

New research casts doubt on the wisdom of parental generosity

Is this where your tuition fees are going? Vice-Chancellor’s salaries continue to rise

The pay packages of many university vice-chancellors have massively increased recently. Duncan Hopwood investigates

Osmayev after his arrest, his injuries covered with iodine

Trial of public schoolboy behind plot to kill Vladimir Putin is fixed, warns his wife

Russian security services feared to be  behind charges

Open University has the happiest students in Britain

The Open University has the highest student satisfaction rating of all universities in Britain according to new rankings.

Regent’s College London will be able to grant its own degrees from September and aims to have university status by 2013

Private universities: An independent advantage

The increase in tuition fees has made private universities a more popular option

Charles Dickens experts may have uncovered fresh works after completing project to digitise journals

Dickens experts believe they may have uncovered fresh additions to the writer's canon after completing a project to digitise the 19th century weekly journals that the celebrated author once edited.

Bribon remains at top of Audi MedCup leaderboard

Nip and tuck all the way, the fan master in the sky pressed the on button, produced a steadily strengthening breeze, and set up some furiously close racing, three of them, on the third day of the Murcia trophy. He also brought a ration of woe.

Work, rest or play after A-levels? There's a world of opportunity awaiting you

There are more options than ever for post A-level students. Jessica Moore says it's time to plan thoughtfully

Private universities: Why it pays to take the path less travelled

A budding sector that boosts prospects for those who know what they want. By Stephen Hoare

Students name best (and worst) universities

A year is a long time in the world of higher education. A university that has been the most expensive in the country will become one of the best in terms of value for money next year.

Letter from the editor: Great Expectations

The BBC is expected to begin filming the opening scenes of its adaptation of Great Expectations today, on the marshlands of Tollesbury, near Maldon (where the salt comes from).

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas