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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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone