Cat Smith MP

Working for Lancaster and Fleetwood

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Government Commitment to Autistic Children and Young People

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I welcome the confirmation that the Government has improved training for teachers of students with Autism from the Government.

The commitment was secured following a Question I put to the Prime Minister in May highlighting a constituent with autism’s case and asking for autism support training for teachers to be included in the forthcoming review on the subject.

On July 12th the Government confirmed that from September 2018 every new teacher in England will learn about the needs of autistic children and young people as part of their teacher training.

Until now, there has been no requirement for new teachers to learn anything specific about special educational needs and disabilities.

I welcome the Government’s commitment to improving the experience for autistic children in our schools. Sadly for too many at present school can be a bewildering and far from pleasant experience. I am pleased the Government has listened to the parents of autistic children, teachers, and people across the United Kingdom who have campaigned for proper teacher training to support young people with special educational needs.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society, said: 

"The new framework will mean that, for the first time, every new teacher in England should have a basic understanding of autism and the different ways it can affect students. This is fantastic news for the autism community and will make a huge difference to the lives and prospects of generations of children on the autism spectrum.

"Children on the autism spectrum often share certain difficulties, such as struggling to understand unwritten social rules and managing change, but it affects each individual differently. Around 70% go to mainstream schools, so teachers are bound to work with autistic students at various points in their career. Yet, until now, there hasn't been a requirement for new teachers to learn about autism.