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Friday 15 December 2017

MPs and Peers back Ambitious about Autism’s call for action to tackle illegal school exclusions

The Government and Ofsted must act now to stamp out the illegal exclusion of children with autism from schools, says Ambitious about Autism.

It comes as the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism publishes a new report highlighting serious problems faced by children with autism in the education system. This includes poor understanding of autism among school staff and patchy special educational needs support

The report echoes Ambitious about Autism’s own research into the experience of young people with autism at school.

The when will we learn? campaign found:

  • 26,000 children and young people with autism were unlawfully deprived of education last year.
  • Nearly three quarters of parents of children with autism say that getting them the right support in school was so stressful it caused them to lose sleep.
  • 80% of children with autism find school so stressful they experience anxiety about attending every day. 

The cross party group’s report today has made recommendations which mirror Ambitious about Autism’s own calls for stronger action on illegal school exclusions, as well as better training for school staff and governors and linking assessments for special education needs support with  autism diagnosis.  

Alison Worsley, Director of External Affairs at Ambitious about Autism, said: “Today’s findings are yet more confirmation that children and young people with autism are being failed by our education system.

“Excluding children from school without doing the proper paperwork or leaving them waiting months and months for an assessment of their educational needs is stifling the potential of thousands of young people with autism.

“We’re pleased that the all party group has backed many of our calls for new measures to help children with autism in schools – including a clampdown on illegal exclusions and quicker assessments of educational needs after an autism diagnosis.

“We now urge government, local authorities and schools to act urgently on these findings and make life fairer for young people with autism.”

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism report’s recommendations include:

  • A procedure for reporting unlawful exclusions from schools
  • New guidance on which bodies are responsible for holding schools to account for the support they provide to children on the autism spectrum.
  • Ensuring all school leaders and governors receive training in autism awareness
  • Ensuring a diagnosis of autism automatically leads to a decision about whether an assessment for an EHCP plan is needed.

Ambitious about Autism is supporting the National Autistic Society’s Held Back campaign calling for a national autism and education strategy. The charity’s chief executive has signed a joint open letter to Justine Greening MP calling for the change.



For more information on Ambitious about Autism or to request an interview about the report contact our media manager at 020 8815 5134 or email


Notes to editors

Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. We provide services, raise awareness and understanding, and campaign for change. Through TreeHouse School, and Ambitious College and the Rise School, we offer specialist education and support. Our ambition is to make the ordinary possible for more children and young people with autism.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects 1 in 100 people in the UK. It affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them.