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Ruled Out

Ruled Out

What is Ruled Out?

Ruled Out was a campaign that aimed to raise awareness of the fact that too many children and young people with autism are missing out on their education, because of exclusions, illegal exclusions and schools not being able to provide appropriate support.


What did the Ruled Out campaign involve?

To inform the Ruled Out report we surveyed over 500 families, 1,000 school staff and gathered evidence from 92 local authorities through Freedom of Information requests. We carried out 30 in-depth interviews with young people with autism and parents about their experiences. A literature review was also undertaken. 

Our research confirmed that there are thousands of pupils with autism across England who are missing out on education. Although the ways in which they miss out are varied and complex, there are clear themes that link all of their stories.

We recommended that:

  1. Every family of a child with autism knows their rights, and has the resources to help their child get the support they are entitled to at school.
  2. Every school has access to a specialist autism teacher, to build capacity among school staff and to support children with autism to learn and achieve.
  3. Every local authority sets out in their local offer the support available in their area to ensure children with autism have access to quality full-time education.

Because with the right support children and young people with autism can, and do, succeed at school.


What were the Ruled Out campaign outcomes?

Following on from the campaign we developed a resource guide for parents setting out the legal duties around admissions, exclusions, disability discrimination and a number of other areas relevant to children with autism missing out on education. 

We also lobbied on the Children and Families Bill which later became law in 2014 and significantly changed the system around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. For example, replacing statements of special educational need with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

Jointly with the National Autistic Society, we campaigned for Every Teacher to receive training on autism and all trainee teachers should now learn how to support the needs of autistic children and young people in their classrooms.

Sadly too many children and young people continue to be denied an education simply because they are autistic, and we continue to campaign for a fairer education system through our We Need an Education campaign.