A cross-party group of politicians chaired by South Swindon MP Robert Buckland is urging the Government to ensure every school has a specialist teacher for autism, after parents and education professionals revealed the lack of training to teach pupils with the disability. The group this week launched its report on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision, as the Government reforms the system.
84% of respondents to a survey by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) said teachers are not given enough training to support children with autism effectively. The survey also found:
· Fewer than half of parents and children with autism (43%) thought they were involved in shaping the support the child receives at school.
· A similar proportion of autism professionals agreed that parents were involved in shaping this support
· 94% of parents and 80% of teachers said parents should be more involved
The APPGA report recommendations include:
A lead teacher for autism in every school with the relevant knowledge and training
An action plan for every child with autism (including those without statements/Education, Health and Care plans)
A guarantee of support up to the age of 25 so that young people with SEN can become independent adults (including those not in Further Education)
Robert Buckland, Conservative MP for South Swindon and Chair of the APPGA, said: “Securing the right support at school can be a very difficult task, and for some families it becomes an all-consuming battle. Teachers, teaching assistants and other support staff work tirelessly with children and young people with autism and SEN in the classroom while parents do the same at home.
“However, there are too many instances where parents are left feeling that their child’s needs are not being met and far too many instances where teachers are left without the necessary specialist training or resources.
“A transformation of the SEN system is vital if we are to ensure that people with autism have the same life opportunities as everyone else, namely the ability to contribute to society, to enter the workplace and to realise their aspirations. We cannot afford to shirk the challenge.”
For more information or a copy of the report, please contact Andrew Willard on email@example.com or 0207 9033545.