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Autistic Children: Educational Support

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 24 November 2021

9. What steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to help ensure that autistic children receive appropriate educational support under equalities legislation. (904389)

Education settings are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children, including those with autism, under the Equality Act 2010. The “SEND code of practice” sets out detailed guidance on meeting children’s needs. Through the new autism strategy, published in July, the Government set out our vision to make life fundamentally better for autistic people by 2026, including in education.

A recent report from the National Autistic Society said that a quarter of autistic children can wait more than three years to receive the extra support they need. Does the Minister agree that that is an equalities issue? What conversations will he have in the Department for Education to ensure that schools and councils get the funding that they need to carry out special educational needs and disabilities assessments and make the right provision?

As an Education Minister, of course I want every child to fulfil their potential. I am committed to speaking to and working with children, families, parents, carers and SEND experts, including the National Autistic Society, which I met this week as part of a stakeholder roundtable. I am always happy to listen to the voices of sector leaders and I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady.