Secret Teacher: my school won’t let students fail – so how will they learn?

It’s a Saturday morning in May, and while most schools are empty, mine is open for year 11 revision classes. Teachers are expected to attend, no questions asked. Students are too, although they have a choice and not all of them do. Similar sessions are held throughout half terms and Easter holidays. What began as …

Black Mirror, Doctor Who and Alan Partridge: your festive TV guide

Illustration: Laurène Boglio Now that television has fragmented, with everyone having an individual slate of programmes tailored just for them, family viewing risks becoming a thing of the past. But that all changes at Christmas, when the trick is finding the cross-generational overlaps. This might be the only time of year when The Grand Tour …

Get off the motorway: the best cafes and restaurants near busy junctions

Three Hares cafe/bistro/bakeryDistance from junction: 10 min For delicious, freshly baked goodies, this place is tops. Sweet treats might feature red wine and chocolate cake, banana and maple syrup loaf, and overfilled doughnuts. The tiny shop in charming Sedbergh’s old lanes is also a bustling, informal cafe and bistro, often crowded with people savouring coffee …

The best male grooming sets for Christmas | Sali Hughes

Some male grooming gifts in this Christmas’s post: umpteen preparations for the maintenance of hipster beards; at least three skincare ranges that smell like a boys’ secondary school changing room; a cream for smoothing and deodorising one’s testicles. I’ve no idea why there’s a pervading assumption that, for men to ablute, they must first be …

Howard Jacobson: ‘Larry David is a warped version of Don Quixote’

The Germans have an expression for that maddening song or melody that invades your brain and won’t leave it. They call it an Ohrwurm. We translate that as earworm, but the German more effectively suggests the impending insanity, the way a tune can twist like a drill bit into your inner ear and lodge for what …

Phil Taylor beats Chris Dobey in first round of World Darts Championship

Phil Taylor began his final tournament with a win against Chris Dobey in the first round of the world championship at Alexandra Palace in London on Friday night. The 16-times world champion beat fellow Englishman Dobey 3-1 despite making an uncharacteristically nervy start. In the first set he went 2-1 behind before rallying to take …

‘Going to the Furniture Ombudsman about our sofa was a waste of time’

How much should you trust an ombudsman to resolve a complaint? The Furniture Ombudsman, used by major retailers such as DFS, Marks & Spencer, Dreams and Bensons For Beds, has been described as a “waste of your time” and “a joke” after it found in favour of a retailer, but a court subsequently ordered a …

Talking Horses: Deauville Dancer offers an each-way opportunity at Cheltenham | Chris Cook

The biggest success in the training career of David Dennis has been a decent handicap chase at last year’s Hennessy meeting. That could be about to change as the Worcestershire man pitches Deauville Dancer (1.55) into Cheltenham’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, in which the horse looks overpriced at 33-1. There is a risk for punters …

British Steel pension scheme members ‘preyed on’ by financial firms

Firms dubbed “sharks” and “vultures” are preying on steelworkers to persuade them to transfer their pensions so advisers can pocket huge fees, MPs heard this week. They forced the main City regulator to name and shame three firms they said were “ripping people off”. It emerged that some of the financial firms touting for business …