Autism and Education

Thank you for contacting me about autistic people's experiences of education.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the National Autistic Society’s parliamentary event due to prior commitments. However, I would be eager to receive further information about the barriers autistic people face at school.

I fully acknowledge that people with autism face a number of challenges at school. My colleagues at the Department for Education are aware of these barriers and are working to ensure that all students with autism receive the education they deserve.

In March this year, the Government published its Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan. The Improvement Plan sets out that the Government will establish a single national system that delivers for every child and young person with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to age 25 so that they enjoy their childhood, achieve good outcomes, and are well prepared for their next step, whether that’s employment, higher education or adult services.

The transformation of the system will be underpinned by new national SEND and AP standards, which will give families confidence in what support they should receive and who will provide and pay for it, regardless of where they live. There will be new guides for professionals to help them provide the right support in line with the national standards but suited to each child’s unique experience, setting out for example how to make adjustments to classrooms to ensure a child remains in mainstream education.

This package forms part of the Government’s significant investment into children and young people with SEND and in AP, with investment increasing by more than 60 per cent, compared with 2019-20, to over £10.5 billion by 2024-25.