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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.”

Used car market takes a hammering

Information about the new car market is readily available, but it's far harder to track trends in the highly fragmented market for second-hand cars. Now, a wide-ranging new report published by British Car Auctions (BCA) fills the gap with a wealth of detail. It provides plenty of depressing reading for the trade but also concludes that the recession hasn't produced the sort of market meltdown that might have been feared.

How country would have divided on Norwich swing

David Cameron would be swept into 10 Downing Street with a Commons majority of 218 if the Norwich North result was repeated across the country at the next General Election, Press Association analysis shows.

Royalty protection officer convicted over £3m scam

A former police Royalty Protection officer was facing jail today after being convicted of masterminding a £3 million spread-betting and property scam.

Richard Ehrman: Europe needs to start addressing its demographic problems

Strange things are happening to Europe's populations. Due to their low birth rates, Germany, Russia and several other European countries face a sustained, outright fall in their numbers – something that has never happened before in any advanced economy. Meanwhile many other countries face ageing stagnation. Yet the British population, thanks to high immigration, is projected to continue growing strongly.

Professor Alan Smithers: We are heartily fed up with being spun to

We need yet another education White Paper like a hole in the head. At this stage of parliament it smacks of shameless electioneering. It also comes after 12 years of continual upheaval. The relentless push for change stems in part from the Government wanting to be seen to be making a difference. But, more importantly, it is because the big ideas and sweeping narratives do not always fit reality and so have disappointing outcomes.

Leading article: Throw open the doors for fresh air of reform

From the Monday Club to the Speaker's chair of the House of Commons, it has been quite a journey for John Bercow. But will the Tory MP for Buckingham be the Speaker the House of Commons, in its present humiliated state, needs?

Bercow wins vote to be next Speaker

Tory John Bercow won the race to become Speaker of the House of Commons tonight.

Simon Oates: Actor who starred as the scientist Dr John Ridge in ‘Doomwatch’

When Simon Oates saw his photograph on the cover of Radio Times, he knew he had found fame after almost 20 years as an actor. This plaudit came at the height of his run in Doomwatch (1970-72) as Dr John Ridge, one of a group of government scientists monitoring unscrupulous activities such as chemical-waste dumping, pollution and the commercial misuse of deadly toxins.

Dennis O'Keeffe: Truancy: it's not just the pupils who bunk off

Most official thinking on truancy is mistaken. Truants are not usually criminal as educational officialdom and the police believe. Nor do truants usually come from bad families. Nor do they dislike school. Nor are they mostly working class. We live in a middle-class society in which most secondary school children do some truanting. This means that most truants are middle class. There are inadequate, school-phobic children but they are a small minority and do not influence other children much.

Margaret Beckett joins Speaker race

The battle for the Commons Speakership was hotting up tonight as former Cabinet minister Margaret Beckett threw her hat into the ring.

Widdecombe makes her bid to become Speaker

Her stopgap candidacy could appeal as MPs jostle for backing

Front-runners stumble in the race for Speaker

Claims for second homes return to haunt candidates to succeed Michael Martin

John Bercow: Why I would like to be Speaker

I believe that the Parliament and the country is ready to skip a generation

More than 300 infant classes break Labour's 30-pupil limit

Government demands schools take steps to comply with ban on over-enrolment

What's it all about, Alfie? 13 year-old fathers a child

Recriminations fly as 13-year-old is revealed to have fathered a child.
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam