In November 2017, The National Autistic Society and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism published a report on autism and education. It found that autistic children and young people in England are being let down and held back from achieving their potential by the education system.
That’s why, together with Ambitious About Autism, we have launched our Held Back campaign. We want the Government to make sure no children are held back from meeting their potential because they’re autistic.
Over 20,000 people signed our open letter calling on the Government to develop a national autism and education strategy.
On 31 January, we hosted our Held Back parliamentary campaign launch in the House of Commons. Over 1800 of you contacted your local MP to invite them to this event – thank you.
Following the event in Parliament, Maria Caulfield MP led a debate in Parliament on our report. She called on the Government to develop an autism and education strategy. In response, SEN Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP said that the Government welcomed the report and would respond to it more fully at a later date. He also highlighted the Government’s ongoing commitment to the Autism Education Trust, which trains school staff across the country.
More than four in ten families are being initially turned away when asking for the extra help they need
Schools and local councils don't understand how to help autistic children learn. They aren't providing things like help to make friends and work with classmates, teaching assistants, or a classroom free from bright lights and overwhelming noise.
Parents have to fight to get the support their child is entitled to.
"I don’t want to fight, but I feel like I have to."
"We are stuck in a system that wants the child to fail before help is offered."
"Autistic pupils are probably the SEN group I need the most guidance with, and have received the least guidance on."
"The school shattered my confidence – they had no understanding… they were unable to provide 'reasonable adjustments'."
The education system is not working for parents, children and young people on the autism spectrum, or teachers trying to provide the right support. Change is needed.
That’s why we are calling on the Government to develop a national autism and education strategy so no children are held back from meeting their potential because they're autistic.