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Understanding the new AS and A Levels

29 August 2017

AS and A Levels are studied in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland operates an independent system of Higher qualifications. There are currently around 80 AS and A Level subjects for students to choose from. Students can select from a wide range of academic subjects, as well as some ‘applied’ (work-related) subjects.

About A Level and AS Level

Generally, students progress to AS and A Levels in the academic year following their GCSE results, but these qualifications can be taken at any age.

AS Levels generally take one year to complete, and A Levels are studied across two years. Both qualifications focus on traditional...

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MAC commission seeks evidence for post-Brexit immigration plan

25 August 2017

The Home Office has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to report on the impact on the UK labour market of the UK’s exit from the European Union and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.

The government has set a deadline of 27 October 2017 to report back on the commission. The MAC will consider producing interim responses for the government to ensure the report can support policy development MAC will seek evidence from stakeholders

Responding to the commission the Chair of the MAC, Professor Alan Manning, said, “This is an important and extensive commission and...

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GCSE results announced amid confusion over new grading

25 August 2017

As students across the world receive their GCSE exam results, pupils in England are left in confusion over the new numerical grading system.

This is the first year that students in England have received results for three subjects – English language, English literature and mathematics – under a new grading scale of 9 to 1 rather than A*–G. The numerical system has drawn criticism, with the exam watchdog, Ofqual, warning that thousands of students are likely to receive the wrong grades, and the Institute of Directors describing it as ‘gibberish’.

However, Nick Gibb, the School Standards Minister, said, “The government’s new gold-standard GCSEs...

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Peak District is named UK's number one 'happy place'

23 August 2017

The Peak District has been named the happiest place in Britain in a nationwide survey. A walk in the hills above the city was voted as Sheffield’s ultimate “happy place,” according to the research.

This study looked into places in the UK, which evoke special memories and ultimately make us “happy”. It found that, for people in Sheffield, a pub lunch in the Cotswolds or ice creams on Brighton Pier closely followed. Hiking in the Lake District and fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast completed the top five happy spots associated with holidays. Researchers from SACO, The Serviced Apartment Company,...

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ACS Cobham opens new state-of-the-art boarding house

21 August 2017

A leading international school in Surrey has responded to demand from global families and busy dual-career couples by launching a new boarding house offering additional places and enhanced facilities.

Ready for the start of the 2017/18 academic year, ACS Cobham International School has opened a new £15 million boarding house that provides world-class facilities for an additional 113 boys and girls. Located in Surrey, to the south of central London, ACS Cobham (part of the ACS International Schools group) is coeducational, with 1,400 day and boarding pupils ranging in age from two to 18. The school offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme,...

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Britain's unemployment rate falls to another record low

16 August 2017

Unemployment rate drops to 4.4% from 4.5%, marking its lowest level since comparable records begin in the 1970s. Employment rate hits a new record high of 75.1%. However, real wage growth declines, with wages growing just 2.1% against inflation of 2.6%. LONDON — Unemployment in the UK dropped to a new low in July, but real wage growth continued to fall as the impact of post-Brexit vote inflation hits the average British household, according to the latest numbers from the Office for National Statistics.

Headline unemployment dropped from 4.5% to 4.4% during the month, beating expectations that the rate would remain unchanged. In...

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Congratulations to Holly Chapman

14 August 2017

A huge congratulations to our Holly Tadman who married Ben Chapman on Friday and the whole Welwyn Garden City team were there to celebrate it with her!

We wish Holly and Ben Chapman all the best on behalf of Icon Relocation!

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What is stamp duty, how has it affected the housing market and how do you calculate the rate for your property?

10 August 2017

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a lump sum payment anyone buying a property or land over a certain price has to pay.

The rate a buyer would have to fork out would vary depending on the price and type of the property.

Rates are different depending on whether it is residential, a second home or buy to let.

Buy to let rates were jacked up by three per cent in April last year making landlords costs higher.

They also differ in Scotland. **

How do you calculate the rate for your property**

The current system in England and Wales for residential properties means:


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Nine Devon houses on the market for £150,000 or less and perfect for first time buyers

08 August 2017

More than 160,000 people bought their first property in the first half of 2017, a figure that is just 15 per cent lower than during the peak of the first-time buyer market in 2006, according to the latest Halifax First Time Buyer Review.

The exact number of first-time buyers between January and June was revealed as 162,704 - only slightly lower than the all-time high of 190,900 - making up 47 per cent of all property purchases financed by a mortgage during the period.

Following the release of the report, Kevin Shaw national sales director at property specialist Leaders said: “The first-time...

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Relocating? Top tips on choosing a new school

03 August 2017

When choosing a school, do your research

Oversubscribed state schools in England will require families to live in their catchment area if they are to stand a chance of being offered a place. It’s important, therefore, to ensure that your chosen home is affordable and falls within the designated area of your chosen school. Likewise, deciding between state schools, independent fee-paying schools and an international school will depend on budget, as well as on other considerations, such as the length of the assignment and the standard of education available in the area.

Prepare your school wish list

Once you have established your wish list,...

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BP and Rolls-Royce bounce back into profit

02 August 2017

Two of the UK’s major companies cheered stock markets on Tuesday with half-year results that represented dramatic turnarounds from hefty losses reported this time last year.

BP and Rolls-Royce bounce back from 2016

Despite a second quarter hit after abandoning several exploration projects in Angola, BP reported better-than-expected profits for the first six months of 2017 of $1.6 billion (£1.2 billion) compared to a $2 billion (£1.5 billion) loss for the same period last year. Meanwhile, aero engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce notched up a pre-tax, half-year profit of £1.94 billion, up from a £2.15 billion loss over the same period in 2016.

BP’s profits in...

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