UK Charity Ambitious about Autism – 4 in 10 children with autism are illegally excluded from school

The UK charity Ambitious about Autism – found in a recent survey of 500 families that 4 in 10 children had been formally and temporarily excluded from school, this is illegal.

They have recently launched their ‘Ruled Out ‘ campaign that Autism Daily Newscast reported on and which you can read here.

The charity found that many children on the autistic spectrum were either asked to stay at home, miss school trips and attend school on a part time basis.

The government responded by saying that schools had to follow strict rules over exclusions.

The survey is based on the experiences of 500 families with a child with autism and 1,000 school staff.

Ambitious about Autism found that 20% of the parents questioned said their child had been formally excluded in the past year.

Almost 4 in 10 children had been subject to informal exclusions.

BBC news reports that the charity found that about 71,00 children have Autistic Spectrum Conditions and so this could mean that 28,000 children were subjected to illegal exclusions across England.

BBC news reports that:

‘Schools in England must follow procedures set out by the Department for Education when excluding pupils, for example, a head teacher must notify parents of the period of the exclusion and the reasons for it.’

The report found than half of the parents responding had to keep their child out of school as they were concerned that the school did not have the correct provision to meet their child’s needs.

The report also found that 3 in 10 parents had been asked by a school to keep their child at home.

‘Ambitious about Autism suggests that schools may be resorting to informal exclusions – which could also mean refusing to allow youngsters to take part in social activities or school trips – because they are unable to support youngsters with autism.’

One parent, Clare Moore, said:

“I have lost count of the number of times different schools have rung and asked me to collect my son early or keep him at home because they could not support his needs.”

She adds:

“It has also had a massive impact on our family life because I had to give up work as I had to be available at short notice.”

Chief executive of Ambitious about Autism, Jolanta Lasota said:

“It is shocking so many children with autism are missing out on education. All schools are legally bound to provide quality full-time education to all pupils, including children with autism.”

She then adds that asking parents to pick children up early from school is against the law and fails to address the underlying needs of children on the autistic spectrum.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said:

“All councils must ensure children are educated in a placement which meets their needs and we have been clear that schools have a duty to follow our strict rules when excluding pupils.”

The full article by Katherine Sellgren on the BBC website can be found here