All schoolchildren in England will be forced to learn their times tables off by heart as well as carry out long division and complex multiplication by the age of 11, the Education Secretary has announced.
Pupils will be expected to pass tough tests before leaving primary school as part of a "war on illiteracy and innumeracy", Nicky Morgan said.
Headteachers who fail to ensure the standards are met face being sacked if the Conservatives are returned to power, she indicated.
As well as demonstrating mathematical skills, pupils will have to pass a writing test by showing they can use "accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar".
In an article for The Sunday Times (£), Ms Morgan outlined plans to make England top of the class in European league tables for English and maths by 2020, as well as in the top five internationally - a significant leap from the current ranking of 23rd.
She said: "We will expect every pupil by the age of 11 to know their times tables off by heart, to perform long division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel.
"They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar. The new tests for 11 year olds we are introducing next year will be strengthened to ensure that every young person is meeting the mark."
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Installing an alarm could increase the chances of a home being burgled, according to researchers at Loughborough University.
Criminologists conducted an 18-month project that measured the effectiveness of home security measures. They found alarms to be among the least effective measures against burglary.
Statistics from the British Crime Survey showed that when alarms were used in combination with other anti-intruder devices such as deadlocks and window locks, there was either no change or an increase in the risk of burglary.
External security lights and inside lights on a timer were found to be the most effective method of keeping intruders out.
"Whilst domestic burglary has reduced substantially in recent years it is still a high volume crime.
"At the start of this research we knew that the risk of becoming a victim was not equally spread across households. We now know what security devices work in what contexts."
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The funeral of a Loughborough student who was killed on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has taken place, nearly five months after the aircraft was exploded over Ukraine.
Ben Pocock - who was in his second-year studying international business - was travelling to Australia to start a six-month study placement in Perth.
Investigators are trying to find out if the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down by Pro-Russian forces.
Ben was a delightful young man. He was bright, very talented, good at sport, very conscientious and somebody who has left a wonderful, lasting memory with all of us who knew him.
His funeral was held in his home town of Keynsham in Somerset - Robert Murphy sent this report.
The funeral of Keynsham student Ben Pocock, who was killed in the Malaysian MH17 aircrash is taking place. His parents say the four months since his death have been a desperate and sad time - and they're relieved they're now able to give their son the love and respect he deserves.
The funeral of a Loughborough University student who was killed in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 air crash over Ukraine will take place today.
20-year-old Ben Pocock was a second-year international business degree student.
The funeral will take place in Keynsham.
In a statement, his parents Jeremy and Louise said:
"The last four months has been a desperate and sad time for us as a family, but we are relieved to have been able to bring Ben home and accord him all the love and respect he deserves."
Charity Crimestoppers will be working with students in Loughborough this week to raise awareness of personal safety and alcohol harm in the run up to Christmas.
This campaign has been organised in partnership with the Charnwood Community Safety Partnership.
Officers will ask people will be asked to think about where their drinking will put them on a scale of sober-tipsy-drunk and the potential for personal harm that this can create.
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