Autistic young people set their targets for Government’s new education team
A group of autistic young people have sent the Education Secretary and new Minister for Schools and Childhood a plan explaining the outcomes they expect them to achieve on behalf of young people with special educational needs.
Following the Conservative party conference, Kit Malthouse gets back to Westminster as Education Secretary, while Kelly Tolhurst enters her first week in parliament in her newly appointed role as Minister for Schools and Childhood, with her brief including the SEND Review.
The Government's objectives
Members of Ambitious about Autism’s youth network have created their own version of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, setting out the goals they would like the Government’s new education team to meet and fully fund within the next year to improve the system for autistic children and young people.
Key targets for the new education team include:
- Ensure schools are more inclusive environments for all pupils, including inclusive uniform, attendance, and behavioural policies.
- Protect young people and families’ existing SEND rights, and ensure they are enforced.
- Require all education staff to be trained in autism and involve autistic young people in the development of the training.
- Make sure schools cannot get a good or outstanding Ofsted judgement without high-quality SEND support.
The SEND Review
It comes at a key time for autistic children and young people as the Government considers new proposals to overhaul the special educational needs system. These include plans to introduce legislation that will create a new set of national standards for the SEND system, overhaul the SEND tribunal process and introduce ‘tailored lists’ of schools for parents to choose from. Ambitious about Autism is concerned that some of the proposals could weaken young people’s existing rights and protections and is seeking further detail from the Government.
Meanwhile, the most recent version of the Schools Bill sees the Government pushing ahead with plans to create a target for 90% of all primary school children to reach the expected standard in literacy and numeracy. Ambitious about Autism is concerned that pressure to hit these attainment targets is not addressed in the SEND Review and will impact the resources and support available to help SEND pupils. The charity wants the School Bill and SEND Review to work together more effectively.
Meg, a member of the Ambitious Youth Network, said:
“As the Government’s new education team start their jobs, we wanted to set them targets that we think will make life better for all autistic pupils. It’s important to have high aspirations, but for some autistic children and young people, it might be unrealistic to achieve the expected grades in English and Maths. Instead, we need to make sure that autistic pupils are able to achieve at their level so they can make progress in all areas of their lives.”
What is an EHC plan?
EHC plans are legally binding documents introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014 for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs (SEN) support. Over 100,000 autistic pupils in England have EHC plans setting out their needs, the outcomes they would like to achieve and the support they will receive at school to reach their goals.
To find out more about our SEND review response check out our dedicated webpage here.