(2) how many teachers in (a) mainstream maintained schools, (b) maintained special schools and (c) non-maintained special schools have a formal qualification in teaching children with autistic spectrum disorder;
(3) what funding the Government provided to assist teachers in gaining higher qualifications to teach children with autistic spectrum disorder in each year from 1997 to 2006.
There is no statutory requirement for children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) to have access to a teacher with a formal qualification in teaching children with ASDs.
The non-statutory ASDs Good Practice Guidance (DfES/DH, 2002) advised that "all those who plan or provide for children with an ASD should have some knowledge and understanding of autism". The Department does not keep records centrally of how many teachers have a formal qualification in teaching children with ASDs.
Between 1997-98 and 2003-04 the value of the special educational needs (SEN) grant under the standards fund totalled £364.4 million (this figure includes Government grant and local authority matched funding). Training was one of the main sub-heads under the fund. It was for local authorities to decide how to use the funding. The fund guidance in 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2002-03 specifically highlighted training in ASDs as one of the areas local authorities may have wished to support.
Since 2004-05 £81 million for SEN has been included in the baseline for the school development grant, which all maintained schools receive, and this increased by 4 per cent. per year in 2004-05 and 2005-06. The school development grant can be used for in-service training. It is a matter for individual teachers and their schools to determine their own training and development needs, including training in ASDs. Local authorities may retain a proportion of this grant, under certain circumstances, to provide specific training in SEN.
In 2002-03 £1 million was made available for higher education institutions to bid for projects to increase training and development opportunities for teachers, learning support assistants and school governorsunder the SEN training and development fund. Three grants were awarded for autism-related projects: £100,000 to Sheffield Hallam university (training initiatives aimed at raising the achievement of children with ASDs); £95,150 to the university of Birmingham (development of an ICT-supported module at masters level); and £50,000 to the university of Greenwich (collaborative project between the university and an ASD outreach service).