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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.”

Letters: Televised political debates

Election debates? A real clash would be more honest

Mark Seddon: He really was a Tribune of the People</I>

Michael Foot, orator extraordinaire, parliamentarian, journalist and bibliophile, radical, internationalist and socialist has passed away at the very grand old age of 96, and rarely can it be said with such certainty that we shall not see his like again. He died, peacefully in his own home in Hampstead, surrounded by his still extensive library, and by pictures of his beloved wife, the film maker and feminist Jill Craigie.

100 Magic Moments of the Turf, by Graeme Roe

Having written a quartet of well-regarded racing thrillers, Graeme Roe has swapped fiction for fact with this collection of reminiscences from a high-class field of folk talking about their days to remember.

Cameron condemns 'inappropriate sexualisation' of children

Conservative leader David Cameron today spoke out against the growing "inappropriate sexualisation" of children.

Seeing Further, Edited by Bill Bryson

This year the Royal Society celebrates its 350th birthday. The "Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge" was founded on 28 November 1660, when a dozen "ingenious and curious gentlemen" met at Gresham College, London, after a lecture by Christopher Wren, the 28-year-old Professor of Astronomy, and decided to found "a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning." Among the signatories of that historic memorandum were Wren, chemist Robert Boyle, clergyman and polymath John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and mathematician William, Viscount Brouncker.

Balls acts to protect children in reality shows from &lsquo;exploitation&rsquo;

Tougher rules governing the use of children in reality TV shows were demanded by the Government today.

Simon Carr: Bercow undermined by the embarrassments of Mrs Speaker

Sketch: I'd say a challenge is now a certainty and a new Speaker the highest probability

The past comes back to haunt John Bercow &ndash; and his other half

She was a &lsquo;ladette&rsquo;. He penned a politically incorrect dating guide. It&rsquo;s not been a good week for the Speaker, says Andy McSmith

Lord Pearson plays the Islam card to win leadership of Ukip

Millionaire campaigner against immigration sees off four rivals to head party

Former Tory peer is new Ukip leader

A former Conservative peer was today elected the new leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip).

Heritage Oil sells Ugandan fields to Eni for $1.35bn and backs out of Genel deal

Shareholders set for special dividend payout

Editor-At-Large: Nurses are not heroines. They are professionals

There's been plenty of hand-wringing over the news that from 2013 all new nurses will have to spend three years studying for a degree to qualify. At present the majority train for two or three years and are awarded a diploma. Critics claim these higher standards mean that trainee nurses will spend time sitting in lectures when they could be learning practical skills on the job, and widespread concern has been expressed that the profession will attract the wrong kind of applicants, more concerned with their careers than carrying out menial tasks.

Letters: Why I won't wear a poppy

Parading of poppies has turned into a sick joke

Richard Garner: There is much to be recommended in Mandelson&rsquo;s blueprint

It is, of course, hard to argue with the concept that our universities should do their best to equip the nation with the skilled workforce that it needs to compete in the globalised economy of the 21st century.

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Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
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Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style