Training down under

A group of primary school headteachers excited some corners of the national press recently, when it was reported that they spent £32,000 on a three-week training course in Australia.

Both the Daily Mail and Daily Express reported that eight headteachers from Wiltshire went on a four-day training course before visiting 12 schools in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. They were accompanied by a computer technician and deputy head.

Their three-week stay, which took place during term-time, was jointly funded by three Government initiatives and the schools’ own budgets.

According to the papers, the purpose of their trip was to study how Australian teachers use Apple Macintosh computer technology to educate pupils, particularly those whose first language is not English.

Headteacher Lauren Connor was reported as saying: “We want to learn more about how they are using ICT as a delivery mechanism for the whole curriculum. We made a short film to present to the Australian Education Department in Sydney, and we are looking forward to establishing closer links with schools down under." 

Another head described the trip as an investment.

The trip was jointly funded by three government initiatives: Train to Gain, the Teacher Development Agency, and the Standards Fund for Primary Education. The total cost came to £32,000, with each primary school paying £500 towards the costs from their own budgets.

A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council said they fully supported the headteachers involved.