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Autism

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school age children were recognised as being on the autistic spectrum, and what proportion they constituted of (a) children with special needs and (b) all school age children in each local education authority in England and Wales in each local education authority in England and Wales in each year since 1997. [105865]

The information requested is not currently available centrally.At present, there is no requirement for schools to submit information in the Annual Schools" Census on the nature of such pupils" disability or learning difficulty. However, in June 2001, the Department carried out a pilot study involving a sample of 200 mainstream and special schools to assess whether it would be possible to collect data from schools on a broad range of types of special educational needs (SEN). From January 2004 the Department is planning to ask schools and local education authorities to provide this information.