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Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) autism units attached to maintained schools, (b) generic special schools and (c) autism specialist schools there were in Kent in each year since 1997. [105864]

The Department for Education and Skills does not currently hold this information centrally. The total number of special schools in Kent in each of the years 1998 to 2002 is shown in the following table:

Special schools

The tables refer to the Key Stage 3 and GCSE achievements of pupils solely registered at Pupil Referral Units at the time of the tests and examinations. These pupils are not obliged to take Key Stage 3 tests nor GCSE examinations.Information on the GCE A level achievement of pupils in PRUs is not readily available. Very few students in the PRUs take A-levels and for some years there are no students at all.

Special schools
Kent local education authority has informed the DfES that there are seven specifically designated resourced mainstream maintained provisions for children and pupils on the autistic spectrum in Kent, in addition 119 Ken: maintained mainstream schools meet the needs of pupils with statements of special educational need w here the primary need type is identified as autism and the need is described as very severe and complex. Many other Kent maintained mainstream schools meet the needs of pupils on the autistic spectrum, some with statements of special educational needs and others without.There is no DfES definition of a generic special school. However the Kent authority has told us that there is one Kent special school which meets the needs of pupils with both moderate learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties, which may be one definition of "generic". There will be many other Kent special schools which cater for children with a range of special needs.None of the Kent maintained special schools is specifically designated for children with autism. However there are 16 that will meet the needs of pupils who are on the autistic spectrum and there are other special schools which will take pupils who have needs associated with autism.

There are also a number of independent and non-maintained schools in Kent that make provision for pupils with primary autistic needs.