Qld kids with autism will stay in class
Queensland's education minister has ruled out separating children with autism from the rest of their class, despite teachers complaining they disrupt their peers' learning.
Kate Jones and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday opened the new $2 million Autism Hub and Reading Centre - an Australian first - in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Woolloongabba.
Ms Jones was asked whether the government would reconsider a policy to keep children with autism in the classroom, given the level of disruption teachers say they create.
"Every child, whether they have autism or not, deserves to have excellence in education," Ms Jones said, immediately ruling out a change of policy.
Ms Jones said initiatives like the new hub would not only help students reach their full potential, but also give teachers the training and skills needed to cope with special-needs students.
"Where there is an issue in a classroom where we think the expertise of the autism hub coaches can go to a school, work with the classroom, work with the teachers, that's exactly what this service is all about," she said.
Ms Jones rejected suggestions other students would be disadvantaged by children with autism disrupting classes and teachers needing to spend more time with them.
She said the government was providing more teachers and funding to address class sizes, while also allowing individual schools to decide how money and resources should best be used.
"Yes, we've listened," Ms Jones said.
"We can do better, but right now in Queensland we are now providing a resource that no other teacher in any part of Australia has and I am very proud that we are tackling this head on."