The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) – a cross party group of MPs and members of the House of Lords - has launched an inquiry into education for children on the autism spectrum in England*.

This is following a consultation that The National Autistic Society, working on behalf of the group, ran last year with autistic people and family members about their priorities for change. As part of that consultation, parents of children and young people on the autism spectrum and those on the spectrum themselves, told us about the challenges they continue to face in getting the right educational provision and support in schools.

During the course of the inquiry we’ll be seeking views from people on the autism spectrum, parents and other professionals. If you’re interested in hearing more please email appga@nas.org.uk and ask to be added to the APPGA distribution list. This will ensure you are kept informed about the progress of the inquiry and will have a chance to have your voice heard.

The inquiry will be chaired jointly by APPGA Members, Huw Merriman MP and Maria Caulfield MP.

The inquiry will cover a wide range of topics on autism and education. It will also be asking specific questions on:

1. The challenge for local authorities:

  • making sure the right mix of school provision is available in every area to meet the diverse needs of autistic pupils
  • why do some local authorities meet children’s needs better than others?
  • how to spread good practice.

2. The need for autism expertise in schools:

  • availability and quality of training for teachers and other school staff
  • gaps in training and knowledge
  • implementation of the new framework for initial teacher education.

3. The implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014

  • access to education, health and care assessments and provision of education, health and care plans
  • relationships between families and local authorities
  • funding challenges.

There will be a number of evidence sessions in Parliament with a range of witnesses, including parents and young people. They will be asked about their views and experiences by Huw, Maria, APPGA chair Cheryl Gillan MP and other members of the APPGA.

In addition, the Group will also invite written evidence from interested organisations and individuals and carry out an online survey of young people, parents and teachers. The APPGA’s report and recommendations will be published in the autumn and we want to hear the voices of as many people as possible.

The National Autistic Society, Ambitious About Autism and the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at University College London are helping to run the inquiry. We would like to thank Axcis Education for its support for the inquiry.

An image of the Axcis Education logo

*Education is devolved to the assemblies and parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.