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Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many under 16-year-olds with autistic spectrum disorders were not in full-time education in each parliamentary constituency in England in the last 12 months for which figures are available; (75852)

(2) what percentage of children with autistic spectrum disorders attending mainstream schools receive full-time support in each parliamentary constituency in England;

(3) how many children with autistic spectrum disorders attend (a) special and (b) mainstream secondary schools in each parliamentary constituency in England.

Since 2004, the Department for Education and Skills has collected data on pupils by type of special educational needs (SEN) as part of the annual school census. A table showing pupils with SEN supported at ‘School Action Plus’ or with a statement of SEN where autistic spectrum disorder is recorded as their primary need has been placed in the Library.

There are a range of factors which may affect the data recorded, including:

local interpretation of definitions;

classification of children with multiple needs; and

differences in diagnoses between education and health professionals.

The Department does not collect data on the number of children with particular types of SEN who are not in school full-time. All children of compulsory school age are expected to receive full-time education suitable to (a) their age, ability and aptitude and (b) any special educational needs they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

Some children may not be receiving full-time education, for example children who are out of school because of illness or children who have been excluded and not yet placed. Children with autistic spectrum disorders, who are attending school, should have additional specialist support provided according to their needs.