Backbench Business - Services for People with Autismbackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:13 pm on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Conservative, Ludlow 1:13 pm, 21st March 2019

My hon. Friend is making an exceptionally powerful speech, and I applaud his role as chairman of the all-party group. It is particularly impressive that he has been able to pick up the role in this debate of my right hon. Friend Dame Cheryl Gillan in her absence.

Returning to the question of education, my hon. Friend touched on the subject of young people a moment ago. Does he agree that the Government’s recent announcement of an additional 37 schools across the country to provide special needs support for people, including those on the autistic spectrum, is a welcome recognition of the challenges presented to our education system by the increasing prevalence, regrettably, of autism across our communities?

I would like to highlight one story in my constituency that points out the need for such schools. It involves a mother of two autistic children, both of whom have to be schooled over 100 miles away from Ludlow, in the heart of my constituency, where she lives. She has campaigned with a local charity and not-for-profit group to open a new school—Overton school, just outside Ludlow, which is currently awaiting its Ofsted accreditation—partly so that other families who have to deal with the same circumstances will not have to travel 100 miles to visit their children.