Wednesday, 12 February 2014
1000s of children with autism are being illegally excluded from schools
"Thousands of children with autism are being illegally excluded from schools in England, a charity claims. In a survey of 500 families, Ambitious about Autism found four in 10 children had been informally excluded from school temporarily, which is illegal.
The charity said children with autism were being asked to stay at home, miss school trips and activities and to attend lessons on a part-time basis."
"The charity said that as about 71,00 children have the condition, it could mean more than 28,000 children were subject to illegal exclusions across England. Schools in England must follow procedures set out by the Department for Education when excluding pupils, for example, a head teacher must notify parents of the period of the exclusion and the reasons for it. Ambitious about Autism suggests that schools may be resorting to informal exclusions - which could also mean refusing to allow youngsters to take part in social activities or school trips - because they are unable to support youngsters with autism."
"While schools have a legal right to formally exclude a child, this should be done only as a last resort, it argues, and plans should be put in place to ensure the pupil is still getting an education."
"One parent, Clare Moore, said: "I have lost count of the number of times different schools have rung and asked me to collect my son early or keep him at home because they could not support his needs."
"Jolanta Lasota, chief executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: "It is shocking so many children with autism are missing out on education. All schools are legally bound to provide quality full-time education to all pupils, including children with autism.
Asking parents to collect their children early or putting them on part-time hours is against the law and fails to address the underlying need for schools to make reasonable adjustments to include children with autism."