* The Lewis Carroll Phenomenon in intellectual, cultural and artistic contexts will be explored at a conference to be held at Cardiff University, April 1-5. Speakers include: Gillian Beer, critic; Alan Garner, writer; and Kimberley Reynolds, National Centre for Research in Children's Literature. Fee: Pounds 125; university accommodation Pounds 150-Pounds 210. Details: Lewis Carroll Phenomenon, Southgate House, Bevan Place, Cardiff CF4 3UX, tel: 01222 874027; e-mail: Conference@cardiff.ac.uk. * Discover how to develop children's writing in the primary school through the use of story at University College, Bretton Hall, West Bretton, Wakefield, March 7 (9.30am-1pm). Fee: Pounds 20, Pounds 15 members. Details: External relations, tel 01924 832024.
* The National Association for the Teaching of English is holding its annual conference and publishers' exhibition "Getting back to the future" at Birmingham University, April 14-17. Speakers include David Puttnam, film-maker and a member of the Educational Standards Task Force, and Tim Brighouse, chief education officer for Birmingham. Workshops will explore such issues as the language environment of homes, schools and communities today; the impact of changing roles of gender, class, race and culture on language and literature teaching; oracy and storytelling for the 21st century; drama; and the impact of new technologies. Fees start at Pounds 230 non-residential (Pounds 190 students, newly qualified teachers).
Running alongside the main conference is a primary day, April 15, with key speakers Margaret Meek Spencer, reader emeritus, London Institute of Education, and Richard Langridge, executive producer of children's drama at the BBC, plus a choice of seven workshops. Fee: Pounds 60, Pounds 50 members, Pounds 30 students and NQTs. Details fromNATE, tel: 0114 255 5419.
* the National Association for the Teaching of English also holds regular inset days at its Sheffield premises. Forthcoming courses include: secondary English teaching for the newly qualified teacher, February 26; teaching the novel at A-level, February 27; and classroom approaches to grammar, March 26. Fee: Pounds 80, Pounds 65 members. Details: NATE, 50 Broadfield Road, Broadfield Business Centre, Sheffield S8 OXJ, tel: 0114 255 5419.
* Reading Our Future is the title of a conference organised by Norfolk education department on June 16-17 to launch the Year of Reading. It will be held at the Stakis Hotel, Norwich, and aims to engage schools, employers, parents, and anyone interested in promoting reading and raising standards of literacy. Details from: library and information service, tel: 01603 222271, or the Family Literacy Programme, tel: 01603 222254.
* Alan Davies's THRASS approach (Teaching Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Skills) using "the 44 defined sounds that build all of our words" is a "more logical and comprehensive phonic method to literacy skills than the traditional approach of linking one letter to one sound" says the leaflet. To discover why Alan Davies claims THRASS could make a difference in your school, book an introductory two-hour presentation, fee Pounds 15. Insets cost Pounds 75 and three-day certificate courses Pounds 195. Details: Inservice Training and Education Development, Uplands House, 37 Skip Lane, Walsall WS5 3LW, tel: 0585 317491242463; faxmessage service, tel: 0121 357 7914.
* "A smile for Europe" is the theme of European Poetry-Childhood Day, taking place on March 21. Associated with it are two competitions, one for children under 13, the other for teachers. Children are asked to submit an illustrated poem on the theme by February 12. The best poet from each country and an accompanying teacher will be invited to stay in Brussels from March 21-25. Teachers are asked to enter for the Master's Prize by submitting summaries of the educational approaches they have adopted with their pupils, again by February 12. The prize is one week at the language training courses of Spa Nivezee, organised and offered by Ceran Lingua. Details and teaching suggestions for the day itself are available from: European Poetry-Childhood Day, Chaussee de Wavre, 150 B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.
* School teams are challenged to produce a newspaper in a day for TES Newspaper Day on March 11 and 12. Upon registration, schools will be sent a support pack and, about 10 days beforehand, information about feature articles. On the day, current news will be forwarded by e-mail, fax or post. First prize in each category (primary, secondary and international school) is an Apple Macintosh Performa or an Acorn Risc PC (from Xemplar) to be presented at the House of Commons in May. Please register by March 10 with The Tees Valley Educational Computing Centre, Prissick Base, Marton Road, Middlesborough TS4 3RZ.
* A new organisation, The Schools' Theatre Association, has been proposed by the School Show Page on the Internet (www.schoolshows.demon.co.uk) in association with Education Extra, the after-school clubs charity. If set up, it would aim to share ideas, experiences, equipment and materials; act as a pressure group with government, local government and funding bodies; provide advice and a library of play scripts for and by members; and run an annual national conference and regular regional meetings. Contact Peter Lathan at King George School, Nevinson Avenue, South Shields NE34 8BT, tel: 0191 456 4811 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org..
* The GCSE Answers Web site at http:www.gcse.com has updated its English department section to incorporate syllabuses' extra poetry requirements and changes to the marking criteria and tier system which can be used to "cap" a student's grade.