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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.”

The smarter sex: Does it matter if girls do better than boys?

Despite all the attention, the gap between male and female achievement is still growing.

The price of knowledge: What will the impact of the Browne report be?

Lucy Hodges gauges reactions from vice-chancellors and students

Willetts: students must pay more for university

Students who start their university courses in two years' time will be the first to have to pay substantially more for the cost of their education once they graduate, the Universities minister, David Willetts, said yesterday.

Exam system in 'disarray'

As teenagers across the country anticipate their GCSE results this week, concerns were raised today that the exam system is in "disarray" and in need overhauling.

Debt fears see thousands pull out of university race

Thousands of young people gave up their scramble for a university place yesterday as the search for the few remaining vacancies intensified.

Letters: Perspectives on high-speed rail

Your correspondents (Letters, 16 August) point out that the Coalition is still prioritising spending tens of billions of pounds on a high-speed rail line while cutting front-line services. What is also a nail in the coffin of HS2 is the claim that it can be part of a "programme of measures to create a low-carbon economy".

Clearing might be a harrowing process but don't give up on a degree

A shortage of university places means clearing will be a harrowing process this year. But there are plenty of options for students who are turned away

University challenge: Does a two-year degree make more economic sense?

Lucy Hodges examines the pros and cons

John Bercow: 'We need reform. Too bad if it disturbs people's lunch'

A year on from his appointment as Speaker, John Bercow tells Steve Richards why he is determined to change the culture of the House – starting with Prime Minister's Questions

Number of undergraduates set to plummet

The number of full-time student undergraduates will plummet by 20 per cent over the next five years, it was forecast yesterday.

E M Forster: A New Life by Wendy Moffat

The longest journey

Conor Ryan: The pupil premium won't work unless it's new cash

The coalition has made improving social mobility one of its central planks. The new Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has declared he wants to close the gap in results between the richest and poorest. Paying schools more for each disadvantaged pupil on their rolls is their big idea to achieve it.

Police release pictures of missing teenage girls

Police today released pictures of the two teenage friends who have been missing from home for nearly three days.

Alan Smithers: 'So, who will decide on the curriculum now?'

Few in the present economic climate will be surprised that the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) is to be scrapped. It has become overblown financially and has lost its way educationally. The current curriculum is full of vacuous generalities about cultural understanding, collaboration and inclusion, but leaves us little wiser about substance. But this government faces the practical realities of what, if anything, is to take its place.

Porter charged with attempted poisoning

A kitchen porter has been charged with attempting to poison pupils at a top public school.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
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Independent Travel
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album