Our School

Our School

Principal’s Welcome

It is with pleasure that I welcome
you and your children to our
unique and progressive school. We
offer an early years program for
300+ young children with Autism
Spectrum Disorder in Prep to Grade
3 (ages 4.5 to 9).

Western Autistic School is a government-funded school, which offers an early year’s program for 400 young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Prep to Grade 3 (ages 4.5-9).

We aim to optimise educational opportunities for our students when they move into more mixed settings. To this end, we help our students build their functional communication, social emotional and language skills as well as their literacy and numeracy. We achieve this by providing intensive, personalised teaching at the start of each child’s schooling to then allow the students to use these strategies in an integrated setting. Our Inclusive Education Teacher (Outreach) follows the children into these schools.

At Western Autistic School, the individual child is at the centre of our work. The foundation of our teaching is the child’s own interests and motivations which forms the basis of their learning new skills and building self-esteem. We emphasise the welfare, inclusion and happiness of each child.

At our school, teaching teams supported by expert therapists work with small groups of children. Utilising proven teaching practice, an individual learning plan is developed for each child in consultation with the child, parents, and teaching team.

WAS is actively involved in research and training. It has a dedicated research unit, the Practical Research Autism Centre (PRAC), and a registered training provider The Autism Teaching Institute (ATI), which provides post-graduate qualifications to professionals working with people with ASD. Further information about WAS and its branches is available at:


We look forward to welcoming you to our school. During the coronavirus Covid19 emergency we invite you to view our Virtual Tours on this webpage, and to book a WebEx meeting to meet with staff and learn more about our school.

Mary Thomson
School Principal

Reference: School Community Policy below. 

Our Team

  • Adele Field - Acting Principal ( Mary Thomson substantive principal is on leave)
  • Samuel Hindes  - Assistant Principal Teaching and Learning
  • Sarah Turner – Acting Assistant Principal Wellbeing
  • Sarah Testa – Business Manager
  • Lia Bartholomew – Leading Teacher - Autism Teaching Institute and Inclusive Education
  • Johanna McIntyre – Leading Teacher Yellow Pod
  • Sophie Gibbon- Leading Teacher Blue Pod
  • Lauren Topp – Leading Teacher Red Pod
  • Glenis Williams-  Leading Teacher Green Pod
  • Elouise Baudinette – Learning Specialist
  • Nory Clough – Learning Specialist
  • Clifford Tuffnell – Learning Specialist
  • Andrea Webster – Learning Specialist
  • Fiona Whelan – Head Speech Pathologist
  • Our Staff at Work


    Ulea Bayani and Holley Beckermann (pictured) contributed to a presentation delivered by Mary Thomson at the World Autism Congress in Houston, Texas in November 2018.

    Ulea and Holley created vignettes of their work with students to tell the story of the school’s teaching and learning program and educational philosophy.

    In this presentation, we hoped that sharing our knowledge and practice will assist other schools and educators around the globe to close the gap for learners with autism in school- based programs.

    Our Values

    Our school demonstrates our commitment to the following values:




    Diversity          Learning as an ongoing process

    Respect            Sharing and growth of knowledge


    Our Governance

    A specialist school dedicated to the
    education of students with Autism

    School Council Members

    • Acting Principal:
    • Adele Field

    • President:
    • Sinead Bradley

    • Treasurer:
    • Phil Burgoine

    • Executive Assistant:
    • Sarah Testa

    • Parent Members:
    • Sinead Bradley
    • Jessie Gallagher-Smart
    • Joe Nasrella

    • DET Members:
    • Adele Field