Student

As the possibility of unemployment looms for many, more than 500,000 each year choose to pursue further study in the form of a postgraduate taught programme such as a master's. The motivation behind this decision is often related to belief that a higher-level qualification will result in a better job. But does the CV addition of an MA, MBA or MSc actually improve employment prospects?

Lavelle 'gutted' as tendon tear ends Tocca Ferro's campaign

The meeting at Cheltenham on Saturday, the final one staged there before the Festival in March, is nowadays billed as Trials Day. For trainers and punters alike, however, there already seems to be at least one Tribulations Day every week. The ink had barely dried on a setback to Ireland's principal Gold Cup hope, Pandorama, when yesterday brought an abrupt derailment to perhaps the biggest gamble of the season to date – as well as an alarming bulletin for those still clinging to the wreckage of Dunguib's attempt to justify an even bigger plunge at the Festival last year.

Lord Taylor of Warwick guilty of fiddling expenses

A former Tory peer was today found guilty of fiddling his expenses to claim more than £11,000 from the public purse.

Cultural Life: Sarah Millican, comedian

Comedy: I recently drove all the way to Derby to see Sean Lock perform. Professional and hilarious in his interaction with the crowd, it was exactly how it should have been: a great reception for a great comedian. Sometimes at comedy gigs I find myself analysing the material but this really felt like a night off. I also really enjoyed hearing new material from Juliet Meyers and Sally-Anne Hayward when I performed alongside them in Manchester. It's great to see comedians totally different to yourself. They are both exceptionally funny.

Hannah Starkey: Twenty-Nine Pictures

Twenty-nine striking pictures by celebrated photographic artist Hannah Starkey have been brought together for her biggest solo show in a decade.

MP reports six colleagues over expenses

A serving MP has reported six parliamentary colleagues - including two former Cabinet ministers - to police over alleged abuse of expenses, it was reported today.

Midwives warn of home births 'backlash'

The Royal College of Midwives has warned of a "calculated and concerted backlash" against home births, saying some doctors are too prone to refer women automatically for a hospital delivery.

Ex-MP David Chaytor faces jail over false expenses claims

A former Labour MP is facing jail after becoming the first politician to have a conviction for making false Parliamentary expenses claims.

Bringing philosophical discourse into the classroom is an inspirational move

Rugby School's ethos is the stuff of legend – sporting, imperial and literary. As recalled in stone in its School Close, this was the place in 1823 where local lad William Webb Ellis picked up an oval ball and ran, thereby inventing the game of rugby football. And to that tradition of sporting endeavour, a subsequent head teacher, Thomas Arnold (1828-42), added muscular Christianity, creating a recipe that shaped British public school education for a century and, by association, the British Empire, and which was immortalised in print in Tom Brown's Schooldays.

Outside the Box: Croydon Athletic's rise has been as rapid as a Pakistan no-ball

So, who are Croydon Athletic, propelled on to the news pages last week by the revelation that their owner is Mazhar Majeed, the friend and alleged fixer to the Pakistan cricket team? Theirs is a classic story of a small club rising through the ranks with great speed and attracting much controversy along the way. Barely two decades ago there was Wandsworth & Norwood FC, amalgamated from a club that played on Wandsworth Common and another from the Herne Hill cycle track. The name was changed to Croydon Athletic, "The Rams", in 1990 and they would have moved through the leagues even faster but for their ground needing improvements along the way. Majeed, born in Croydon, became co-owner in 2008, stating that his ambition was to reach the Conference, one tier below the Football League. Operating on what appeared to be a far greater budget than most, Athletic comfortably won the Ryman League First Division South last season to reach the Premier Division. Majeed boasted to the News of the World 's undercover reporters about using the club to launder money from his gambling winnings. The former chairman Dean Fisher has been sent to prison for three months for defrauding his employers of more than £525,000, some of which, he claimed in court, went to the club. Meanwhile the team have made a confident start at the higher level, with two away wins and a home draw. The club, and the Ryman League, have promised to co-operate fully with investigations being made by the police and the Football Association.

Baa Baas' fast start makes difference against Ireland

Ireland 23 Barbarians 29

John Stanley: The forgotten Handel

When he was two, John Stanley was blinded in a bizarre domestic accident – he fell onto a marble hearth while carrying a china basin – but this didn't stop him becoming one of the most celebrated organist-composers in 18th-century England. And, anyway, his real misfortune was to be eclipsed by Handel, as was every other British musician in those days.

Gervais's next project: a dwarf's life

The BBC has commissioned Ricky Gervais to write a new comedy about the day-to-day frustrations of a dwarf.

O'Gara's guile shows up English inferiority

Munster 33 Northampton 19

Howlett's tries make sure the Saints go marching out

Munster 33 Northampton 19: Mass choir in fine voice after All Black wing leads Munster past England's only quarter-finalists
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there