Teachers say it’s harder to access appropriate support for pupils with autism

Teachers in England think accessing specialist support for children and young people with autism has become harder over the last year. 60% feel they have not had the adequate training to teach these pupils.

These are the findings of a survey conducted on behalf of Ambitious about Autism’s Schools Report 2013. The report brings together a range of key statistics that illustrate how schools are performing for children and young people with autism. It also tracks, where possible, changes in figures published in the Schools Report 2012.

The School Report 2013 looks at five key areas: support at school, exclusions, bullying, achievement and outcomes. It found:

  • 35% of teachers in England think it has become harder in the last 12 months to access specialist support for children with autism
  • 60% of teachers do not feel they have had adequate training to teach children with autism
  • The number of children whose Statement of Special Educational Needs lists autism as a primary need has increased by 6.5% to 47,225 since 2012.

Clare Bull, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at Ambitious about Autism, said:

“It is a serious concern that teachers are finding it harder to get specialist support for children with autism now than a year ago. This is a step backwards and we need to look very hard at why this is happening when the Government wants to improve the support young people with SEN get through the Children and Families Bill.

Some local authorities employ specialist autism teachers, who make a huge difference to children’s education by sharing expertise across local schools. But we need every local authority to do this, to stop this worrying trend to towards inadequate support for children with autism.

Given that 71% of children with autism are educated in mainstream schools, providing teachers with the correct training to support pupils with autism is vital.”

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. The charity provides services, raises awareness and understanding, and campaigns to make the ordinary possible for children and young people with autism. Find out more at www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

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