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NSW Centre for Effective Reading (SWDCER)

Education Programs - Special Learning Needs

NSW Centre for Effective Reading

The NSW Centre for Effective Reading is a joint NSW Department of Education and NSW Health initiative. 

The Centre provides direct assessment and intervention services for students in rural and remote primary schools who are experiencing complex reading difficulties, professional learning and resources for teachers and other key participants, and undertakes research and development in the area of complex reading difficulties. 

Assessment Services

Multi-disciplinary teams undertake assessments in four hubs located at Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Manly and Westmead. These teams comprise of specialists, including an educational psychologist, a speech pathologist and a special education teacher. 

Intervention Services

Using information gained from assesment, the Centre staff develop a plan for reading intervention in collaboration with the parents/carers and home school. The student's home school implements the plan for reading intervention under the guidance of the specialist staff from the Centre.

An up to four week intensive educational clinic is available to those who require it.

Specialist staff from the Centre support the implementation and monitoring of the plan for reading intervention for 12 months. Centre staff use systematic monitoring to ensure prompt action to support students not making expected gains.

Additional support may include:
  • making changes to the plan for reading intervention
  • accessing an assessment/further assessment and new plan for reading intervention
  • attendance at an up to four week intensive educational clinic with a follow-up school based intervention plan
Referral to the NSW Centre for Effective Reading

Folowing discussions with parents, principals from eligible government and non-government schools can refer a student with complex reading difficulties to the Centre for a direct school-based assessment and intervention service. Sector placement panels manage referrals and decisions about allocation of the Centre's services.


Students eligible to access the assessment and intervention services through the Centre:
  • have not responded to reading intervention provided at the student's home school and
  • live and attend a school over 100km from the Sydney metropolitan basin
Referral Process

Eligible schools complete an online referral form to refer students the NSW Centre for Effective Reading. The Department of Education provides all eligible schools with information about the referral process which occurs in Term 2 and Term 4.

When making a referral, schools document previous interventions used to remediate a student's reading difficulty and provide data about previous interventions and the student's response.

Referalls from government and non-government schools are forwarded to Disability, Learning and Support, NSW Department of Education.

A state placement panel with representation from senior officers from the NSW Department of Education, the Catholic Education Commission of NSW, the Association of Independent Schools of NSW and NSW Health considers referrals to the Centre.

Referral Decisions

Students referred to tne Centre either: 
  • recieve an assessment and school based intervention service through the Centre; or
  • continue on a program delivered in their home school with assisstance and support provided through the relevant education sector's support services
Further information about the Centre can be found at: or contact Gerry Gray.

For more information please see:

Compliance requirements: