What does a young person with autism want from life? Exactly the same as someone without autism. The chance to develop skills, earn money, become independent (and to have some fun along the way).
We think that’s pretty reasonable - don’t you?
What isn't reasonable, is the current lack of opportunities for young people with autism once they finish school.
Our research threw up some shocking statistics. Fewer than one in four young people with autism carry on their education after school. That's a huge amount of wasted potential. We knew something had to be done and thousands of supporters across the country agreed with us.
Together we launched the Finished at School campaign to secure better options for young people once they turned 16.
What did we need to do?
- Change legislation to create a clear legal right to educational support up to the age of 25 for young disabled people;
- Get in place a funding system that gives young people and families more information, choice and support;
- Secure a cross-government focus on outcomes and destinations for young disabled people; and
- Work with the further education workforce to develop the skills they needed to support young people with autism to achieve their ambitions.
What did we achieve?
Quite a lot.
But only because of the amazing support from young people with autism, their families, professionals and parliamentarians. They helped us take significant steps forward since the campaign launched in October 2011. The achievements below are a combined effort, delivered with the support of all our campaign partners.
- The Children and Families Act:
- replaces SEN statements and learning difficulty assessments with a single, simpler 0-25 assessment process and education, health and care plan.’
- provides statutory protections comparable to those currently associated with a statement of SEN up to the age of 25 in further education - instead of being cut off at 16
- was amended to remove all references to ‘having regard to the age’ of a young person, instead focussing decisions about support on individual needs and a young person’s desired outcomes
- was amended to ensure young people with SEN who undertake apprenticeships will be able to keep their package of support.
- A number of steps have been taken to ensure the further education workforce has the skills to support young people with autism to achieve their ambitions:
- The Autism Education Trust is developing a training programme for professionals in post-16 settings. This will be delivered to further education staff from April 2014 onwards
- The government announced a bursary programme for SEN staff in further education colleges to develop their skills in areas such as autism
- Destination measures for all young people are now published, and will in future be broken down by type of SEN, to enable better monitoring of outcomes for young people.
- Over 30 further education colleges have signed the College Inclusion Charter, which commits colleges to improving their offer to young people with autism and other disabilities.
- The Department for Education have invested in pilot projects to improve the transition from school to college and community life for young people with autism. This is called the Finished at School Programme.
Read the Finished at School report
Download the Finished at School report (PDF 1,944KB)
Download the Finished at School summary report (PDF 485KB)
Does the work stop here?
Absolutely not. We continue to work with our partners to ensure that every opportunity is taken to create more and better options for young people with autism when they leave school. If you have suggestions, ideas, or would like further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org