Special Educational Needs

Education written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education

(1) what support and training exists in England for teachers to improve their ability to teach students with autism;

(2) what requirements there are for maintained schools to have access to a specialist autism teacher.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Department for Education is funding the Autism Education Trust £1.5 million over 2013-15 to provide autism training at three levels. This work builds on similar grant-funded support in 2011-13 by widening the training from schools to include early years providers and further education colleges and to cover the whole of England.

It is for schools and local authorities to decide how best to organise their support for autistic children. All schools are expected to ensure that teachers have a good understanding of special educational needs (SEN) and are able to adapt teaching accordingly. The draft SEN Code of Practice requires this to be reflected in a school's performance management and professional development for teachers and support staff. All new school SEN co-ordinators must have received training to take on the role and that training covers different types of SEN, including autism.

The Department is also supporting Nasen to develop a SEN gateway which will provide access to a range of free, quality-assured resources and training materials. This includes introductory and advanced materials on autism spectrum disorder.

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