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Autistic or Neurodiverse Pupils

Volume 697: debated on Monday 21 June 2021

Alongside the £8 billion high needs budget, we fund the Autism Education Trust, which develops autism awareness training for education staff. Over the past decade, over 300,000 staff have been trained. We have also worked with the Department of Health and Social Care to include children in the autism strategy, which will be published shortly.

The Mackenzie Thorpe Centre is a school in South Bank which provides autistic and neurodiverse young people from across Redcar and Cleveland with the support they need in their education. It is a great example how local authorities, working in partnership with specialist charities such as the North East Autism Society, can provide this type of enhanced support closer to home. Will the Minister come to Redcar and Cleveland to meet me and the North East Autism Society to see how it can expand its current support and replicate it elsewhere?

My hon. Friend is a great champion for Redcar and I would certainly be very happy to visit schools in his constituency with him. I just want to take a moment to thank staff and students in schools and special schools all across the country, and to say this to children: “We know it has been such a difficult time, but children please do hold your heads up high. You have done so much. Be proud of all you have achieved during this pandemic.”