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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.”

Shamed by the short traders

The hunt is on for the speculators who sought to profit on the collapse in HBOS share price after spreading false rumours. But how can the regulator catch the guilty parties? By Nick Clark

Quilon, 41 Buckingham Gate, London SW1

Quilon is exceptional and disappointing in equal measure. Is that really good enough for Michelin attention?

Professor Alan Smithers: Lessons of the Soviet Union should have been learnt

Far too many children have been leaving primary schools unable to handle words and numbers properly, and the Blair government was determined to do something about it. It believed it had found the way. Set clear targets for schools, devise strategies for teaching literacy and numeracy, and hold everyone to account.

My Way: Quest Business Training's Judith Kark gives her tips for success in the workplace

'Don't say on your CV that you like to watch TV'

Eduation diary

Who is the real boss at the Department for Children, Schools and Families? Asked about the timetable for all secondary schools becoming trust or specialist schools or academies, the schools secretary Ed Balls said: "I shall have to ask Andrew." He was referring, of course, to Lord Adonis, who is a mere schools minister, but was always thought to be the power behind Blair's throne. Maybe nothing has changed.

Alan Smithers: A new year of non-stop government initiatives

Another year, another education bill: this one compelling young people to remain in education or training until they turn 18. To pave the way, 17 diplomas for 14- to 18-year-olds are being introduced, the first five from September. Changes to curricula, qualifications, inspections and buildings are also due come into effect. Waiting in the wings is a 10-year children's concoction – not a plan – aimed at turning schools into centres for social services.

Government loses faith in growth of religious schools

The Government has decided against backing more faith schools, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, Ed Balls, told MPs.

How do I look? Rankin Photographer, age 38

I'm never going to be six foot or have a completely flat stomach

Racing: Dunwoody: An unbridled passion for racing

Andrew Longmore bids a fond farewell to the retiring Irishman, whose brilliance set new standards

Director of arms firm sends legal bill to FO

THE FOREIGN Office is facing a claim for more than pounds 100,000 from Sandline International, the mercenary company at the centre of last year's "Arms to Africa" affair.

Letter: Messing up the riverside

THE VARIOUS angling associations are opposing the right-to-roam legislation on the grounds, among other things, of its potential damage to their environment. This is ironic in view of the damage they themselves cause by littering up canal and river banks with themselves and their impedimenta, killing waterfowl with their discarded weights and lines and the threat to estuarine life by the wholesale digging up of lugworms for bait.

WORDS: Traditional

DAVID BLUNKETT, echoing his master's voice, has told the schools they must spend more time teaching what one newspaper called "traditional moral values". Taken by itself, this is an unhelpful phrase. It's not so much the moral that's the problem; if you ask almost any teacher what he or she means by moral they will probably say they mean things like keeping out of trouble, standing by the pregnant girlfriend and observing as many as they can remember of the Ten Commandments. Not much disagreement there, provided that they keep the lesson simple. Nor need we linger over values, which, as I have said here before, is just a cant word for what grandfather would have called virtues.

Before the week is out...See this

Hip photographer, film director and publisher Rankin is about to challenge Nineties lad culture with a new exhibition of nude photographs. Although the subjects are naked there is no hint of exploitation in this collection of 100 pictures. Celebrities Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss pose alongside unknown models who answered a series of classified adverts. Rankin's not known for sticking to the traditional and the clever twist to this exhibition is a videotaped interview with each model talking about how they feel about their bodies and nudity.

Books: In pursuit of painted ladies

Robin Blake grew up with a `Van Dyck' which led him to write the painter's Life
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable