23 June 2011

Students in the Lismore electorate now have improved opportunities to address their reading skills, the Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, and the Member for Lismore Thomas George said during a visit yesterday to the NSW Centre for Effective Reading in Manly.

The Centre, formerly Dalwood Assessment Centre and Palm Avenue School, addresses complex reading difficulties faced by some rural NSW primary school students. The Centre has facilities at Royal Far West School, Manly, Westmead, Wagga Wagga and Dubbo.

“In a mean spirited exercise in budget cutting the former Government closed the Dalwood service. Then, under pressure, Labor propped it up with changed eligibility criteria, making it harder for students to enter the program.

“Since the election of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government in March there have been major changes in the way the Centre, which is a joint education/health initiative, delivers its services,” Mr Piccoli said.

“This includes re-instating the 4 week residential programme, establishing a new steering committee, and opening up the eligibility criteria, making the Centre’s expertise available to more than 950 government and non-government rural primary schools.

“In stark contrast to the approach of the previous government, the Coalition is committed to the important services provided by the Centre and will not create uncertainty for its staff or students and their families.

“I’m pleased to say that these changes are being backed by the introduction of intensive education clinics at Manly, which give students and parents time to work with specialist staff and new technologies to better understand and manage long-term reading challenges.

“The first 5 day clinic took place earlier this month, the second, for four Year 6 students, started on Monday this week, and the first 4 week programme begins in late July.

“These improvements have already increased direct support for students, their families and their schools, and I’m keen to hear from the steering committee about its plans for the Centre’s future.”

The Committee is chaired independently by Professor Anne Castle, Director of the Centre for Cognitive Science at Macquarie University, it includes representatives of:

“Building on the 5 day programme, the 4 week clinic brings together students, parents and Centre staff for the first week, after which students on their own receive three weeks of intensive reading instruction and strategies for building self-esteem,” Mr George said.

“In addition to the clinics, students and their schools receive up to two terms of ongoing support from the Centre, which also monitors their progress for a minimum of 12 months.

“Royal Far West has a long, proud history in supporting families across rural NSW, and its involvement in this important programme is very welcome.

More than 270 students from rural NSW are expected to be supported through the Centre this year.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email:

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.