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All children have a right to a full education, but too many children with autism are being excluded from school. Some of them unlawfully.

We have published hard hitting reports on the rate of exclusions and practical resources for parents to fight their children's exclusions.



Permanent and fixed-term exclusions

Permanent and fixed-term exclusions for autistic pupils have risen sharply - up by almost 60% across England in five years. In contrast, overall exclusions have risen by just under 4% in the same period. Children with autism are being excluded because they are children with autism.

Using data from the Department of Education, Ambitious about Autism's research found that every region in England has experienced a rise in exclusions for children with autism of between 45% and 100% in five years.

The number of children with autism being excluded is massively disproportionate to their numbers, even taking into account the increase in population.

Through our We Need an Education campaign we will continue to call for:

  • All school staff - including teaching assistants and support staff - to be given training in understanding autism.
  • Higher needs funding to meet and keep pace with the rise in demand so that schools are resourced to include and support pupils with special educational needs including autism.
  • Greater accountability in the system so that schools and local authorities are incentivised to support children with autism. For example, examining whether schools should be financially and academically responsible for children they exclude or place in alternative provision.


Unlawful exclusions

'Informal' or 'unofficial' exclusions, such as sending a pupil home to 'cool off' are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Any exclusion of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be formally recorded.

Ambitious about Autism has produced resources to support parents and practitioners so that fewer children are unlawfully deprived of their right to a full education. 

There are sample letters for parents to use to let schools, Ofsted and the Secretary of State know when exclusions are happening outside of the law. There is also a letter for professionals to use to whistleblow about unlawful practice.

Our full report Your guide to getting justice for all unlawfully excluded children contains all the background information, case studies and templates; letter templates and a handy flowchart can also be downloaded separately. Read Ali's story about the impact of informal exclusions on parents and children.