Ambitious about Autism welcomes the commitment made in today’s Queen’s Speech to extend the legal right to educational support up to the age of 25 for young disabled people. These extended legal rights are the headline aim of Finished at School - a campaign that is now backed by 23 national organisations, 80 Parliamentarians and over 3,000 individual supporters.
The Queen’s Speech confirms that Government will create an education, health and care plan from birth to 25 years – providing ‘statutory protections comparable to those currently associated with the statement of Special Educational Needs.’
Mark Atkinson, Director of Communications, Policy and Research at Ambitious about Autism said:
“We are delighted the Government has announced plans to create a clear legal right to educational support up to the age of 25 for young disabled people. This reform has the potential to revolutionise the life chances of tens of thousands of young people with autism who are currently denied access to any educational opportunities beyond school.
We will be campaigning hard with our partners to ensure the ‘comparable’ statutory protections are clear, robust and apply to all young people who need them.
Set against the backdrop of cuts to local services, the prevalence of exclusions and bullying of pupils with special educational needs, families want to be assured that there is political commitment and pace behind these reforms. The Government’s aspirations are positive but until they turn into action on the ground young people with special educational needs will continue to be failed by the system. We look forward to working with Government to achieve the best possible outcome for young disabled people through this bill.”
This represents a significant campaign victory for all the young people, parents, college leaders and voluntary organisations supporting our Finished at School campaign. The reality post school is that three in four young people with autism currently end up at home with nothing to do, or in long-term residential care, due to the lack of appropriate educational support beyond school. With a clear legal right to this support many more young people with autism will have a great opportunity to access the education and training they need to get jobs and live more independently.