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Performance pay `holds back' women and minorities

Black and ethnic minority teachers, as well as female educators, will face discrimination when performance-related pay is introduced to schools in England, the country's biggest teaching union claimed this week. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "It is well known that performance-related pay favours men rather than women and that black and minority ethnic teachers are disproportionately likely to be held back." At its annual conference in Brighton, the union voted to collect more data to support the challenging of discrimination. Further strike action, CCTV in classrooms and "vile" social media abuse from parents and pupils were among the other stories that emerged from this year's Easter conference season. For full coverage, go to

More bedtime stories are read from mobile phones

One in three adults in the developing world reads to children from a mobile phone, a survey reveals. The same proportion said that they would do so if more child-friendly reading material were accessible. The Unesco poll questioned nearly 5,000 people in seven developing countries in Africa and South Asia. Women and girls were particularly likely to take advantage of new technology, reading on their phones six times more than men and boys. Often, respondents said, they chose this method of reading because it was affordable. The most popular genre was romance - including Romeo and Juliet and the Twilight series - followed by religion.

Hundreds of weapons confiscated

More than 900 knives, guns and other weapons have been taken into UK schools in the past three years, according to police data. Freedom of Information requests reveal that 981 children, including 80 primary students, have had weapons confiscated while on school premises. The investigation by Sky News was based on replies from just 31 of the UK's 52 police forces, so the true figure may be higher.

Private schools outspend state schools on buildings

Private schools spend three times as much on new buildings as their state counterparts in some parts of Australia, research shows. Despite all schools receiving government funding for every student, new research commissioned by the Australian Education Union (AEU) uncovered a huge discrepancy in capital spending between different types of school. In 2012, private schools in New South Wales spent A$2,395 (pound;1,325) per student on capital works, compared with $747 in public schools. AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos warned that the funding imbalance would cause existing achievement gaps to "widen".

Discrimination against pupils in India condemned

School authorities in India "persistently discriminate" against children from marginalised communities, denying them their right to education, charity Human Rights Watch said this week. The charity has documented discrimination by teachers and other school staff in four Indian states. It found that children from Dalit, tribal and Muslim communities were often made to sit at the back of the class or in separate rooms, and were insulted by the use of derogatory names, denied leadership roles and served their food last. Some were told to clean teachers' toilets, and one 12-year-old boy said that pupils were expected to massage a teacher's legs and beaten if they refused.

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