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Scaled-back pensions strike held in the capital

Thousands of teachers and lecturers in London staged a one-day strike on Wednesday in protest against changes to their pensions. A substantial number of schools and colleges were closed as the NUT joined forces with the University and College Union. The unions had initially proposed a national strike, but the plans were scaled back earlier this month. The NASUWT teaching union and the NUT will discuss how to take their campaigns forward at their conferences over the Easter weekend.

Open access scheme calls for government support

A charity is calling on the government to fund a scheme that would enable hundreds of disadvantaged children to take up places at private schools. Social mobility charity the Sutton Trust has gained the backing of 80 independent day schools - including Westminster, City of London and Manchester Grammar - for its open access project, which would cost #163;200 million a year to run. Under the scheme, children would be able to apply for means-tested bursaries to cover school fees.

Third of teachers have to deal with pupil violence

A third of school and college teachers have dealt with violence from pupils during the current school year, a survey of members of the ATL education union has revealed. The report, released ahead of the union's annual conference in Manchester, revealed that one in four teachers said that the violence had been directed at them. The most common bad behaviour included students showing disrespect and using mobile phones.

Hertfordshire library service closes its doors

The Schools Library Service in Hertfordshire, England's third largest local authority, will close this week. It had offered advice and support to schools, with its services bought in by a third of secondaries and 43 per cent of primaries last year. The relatively low take-up meant that the service was running at a deficit.

Photography helps boys to be picture-perfect in art

Widening art, craft and design options in secondary schools to include photography has helped raise boys' achievement in the subject, according to an Ofsted report published today. But the report also found that there was little training for teachers focused on improving pupils' key art skills, such as drawing. Work with artists raised aspiration and achievement in primaries and secondaries, but was rarely an entitlement, Ofsted said.

Fail pupils in literacy and get fined, report proposes

Schools that fail to teach pupils to read and write should be fined, an independent panel investigating the causes of last year's riots said this week. Introducing fines, which would then be used to help bring children up to the required standards, would help to ensure that the risk of future riots on the scale seen last August was "significantly reduced", it said.

Wellington College plans to set up academy chain

Independent school Wellington College has announced plans to set up a chain of academies in a bid to narrow the divide between the private and state sectors. The plan would build on the single academy that the college already runs and would be the first chain run by a single independent school.

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