[Mr. Martin Caton in the Chair] — Children and Young People with Autism

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:12 am on 8th October 2008.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Shadow Minister (Children, Young People and Families) 10:12 am, 8th October 2008

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Given the incidence of special educational needs in general, the need to ensure that continuous professional development is available, to meet the needs of a particular child or a particular teacher in a school, is absolutely vital. I know that my own local authority in Hampshire has a very extensive range of programmes available for teachers to dip into, but across the country there is a great concern that schools can often find it difficult to release teachers for such training. We need to make sure that that is addressed.

The outcomes for children are deeply worrying. We hear that exclusions, underachievement and unemployment are the recipe in the current situation. Obviously, some of the moves that the Government have made are to be welcomed, but there is much more to do. All of us are here today because of our interest in and commitment to children and helping every child to reach their potential, and children with autism especially deserve our help.