Farewell to Brian 


An emotional farewell was held in at Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Chinese Gardens on Wednesday 16 August, for Dr Brian Gray, the co-creator of the methodology behind the National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP - formerly known as Scaffolding Literacy).

Dr Gray will be stepping down from his position at CDU as the academic leader of NALP, in order to spend more time with his wife Pam and writing his book on the theoretical foundations of Accelerated Literacy (AL).

Project advocate and co-director of the School for Social and Policy Research (SSPR), Associate Professor Tess Lea congratulated Brian for his courage in allowing others to continue his life’s work and manage the program in his wake, speaking of it as an ‘historical moment’ in the development of long term strategies to improve literacy standards among the most disadvantaged students in the Northern Territory.

Although he will no longer be involved in the day-to-day running of the program, it is anticipated Dr Gray will be engaged to work as a consultant with CDU working with the Department of Employment, Education and Training NT (DEET) to ensure that the program meets the challenges associated with its roll-out into 100 NT schools by 2008.

At the farewell, Dr Gray spoke of the need to continue to develop the program, particularly in the area of training teachers to become leading AL practitioners in the NT.

In addition to staff from the school, the afternoon tea was attended by a number of government officials, education administrators and teachers who have worked on the implementation of the AL program in the NT and in the other program sites across Australia.

Chris Shirley, principal of Shalom Christian College, spoke of the difference which NALP has made in regional Queensland.

Russ Jackson, manager of Curriculum and Induction at Anangu Education Services, South Australian Government, spoke of being converted to the merits of the program after witnessing a child in a classroom emerge from a closed cupboard to answer a question posed by the teacher.

Les Mack, coordinator, Perth Office, Aboriginal Independent Community Schools’ Support Unit, spoke of how, without Brian’s contribution, WA would not have seen the significant results it does today.

Ken Davies, Deputy CE DEET, spoke of the measurable improvements that NALP has made to standards of literacy in the NT through its adoption by 100 schools.

Finally project sponsor and co-director of the school, Associate Professor Gary Robinson concluded by explaining how the program had evolved from its small but significant beginnings, adding that while Brian’s regular input would be missed because of his contribution, he is leaving behind a robust and sustainable project to a capable team, and that he should feel proud of where he has taken the program and excited about where it is going.

CDU and the National Accelerated Literacy Program wish Brian all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for the legacy he has entrusted us with.