On 28 March schools across Britain closed during the biggest bout of industrial action since the 1926 General Strike. The one-day walkout, part of a dispute over pensions, was supported by 1.5 million workers. Classroom assistants joined the industrial action, and although teachers were not officially on strike many did not cross picket lines that were set up outside schools as well as council offices, police stations, universities, day centres, libraries, museums and other local authority buildings. See reports in The Independent and The Times 28 March 2006.
New Zealand's Literacy Professional Development Project has recorded significant improvements in reading comprehension and writing across 85 schools over a two-year period. The project involved 1,183 teachers and more than 4,800 students in Years 1 to 8. Of the schools involved in the project, 45 focused on writing and 40 on reading comprehension. The project will be extended to a further 172 schools over the next two years. See Ministerial media release 28 March 2006.
A team of medical experts will help staff at Western Australia's schools and childcare centres deal with children suffering from potentially fatal allergic reactions. Health Minister Jim McGinty said the team of general practitioners, nurses, dieticians and other medical professionals would develop a comprehensive plan for the management of anaphylaxis in schools and childcare centres. See the Health Minister's media release 17 February 2006.
The Skills Formation Taskforce in Western Australian is seeking views to inform recommendations that will be made to the Minister for Education and Training on reforming the apprenticeship and traineeship system. The deadline for submissions is Friday, 7 April 2006.
The New Zealand Government is collaborating with a range of education groups offering workshops to schools on its key initiative Making a Bigger Difference for all Students: Schooling Strategy 2005–2010, launched last year. The New Zealand Educational Institute, the New Zealand Principals' Federation and the New Zealand School Trustees' Association (NZSTA) will facilitate a series of 120 regional strategy workshops for primary school principals, board chairs and some teachers in term two. At the same time, NZSTA and the Secondary Principals' Council of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association will facilitate 30 regional strategy workshops for secondary school staff. See article in the New Zealand Education Gazette 20 March 2006.
New South Wales teachers have launched an advertising campaign calling on the State Government to delay the introduction of mandatory computer testing. Teacher unions voted against a State Government proposal to introduce the tests earlier this month. They claimed students were unprepared, with chronic underfunding and disparities between schools adding to the problem. See report in The Australian 29 March 2006.
Registrations are open for the National Values Education Forum 4–5 May. The Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA) is organising the forum on behalf of the Department of Education, Science and Training. Registrations are also open for the National Civics and Citizenship Forum 1–2 June. The Civics and Citizenship Forum has funded positions available for classroom teachers. Both events will take place at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Application details are available from the Australian Curriculum Studies Association's website (ACSA).