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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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Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
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Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
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Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
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Life and Style
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The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
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The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
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Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
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Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee