Special Educational Needs: Autism

Department for Education written question – answered on 11th March 2021.

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Photo of Tracy Brabin Tracy Brabin Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of the availability of options at GCSE level for children with autism in (a) Batley and Spen constituency, (b) Kirklees, (c) West Yorkshire and (d) England.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

During the GCSE reform process from 2011, the Department consulted extensively with schools, colleges and universities, and employers on both the principles for reform and the detail of the content of individual subjects. As part of this, we also carefully considered the effect of the reforms on pupils with special educational needs and disabilities and published Equalities Impact Assessments for all subjects.

In addition to this, examination boards have a duty, under the Equality Act 2010, to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with disabilities who, because of their disability, would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage when demonstrating their skills, knowledge and understanding. These adjustments are made to remove or reduce disadvantages that such students face compared with students who are not disabled.

Whilst decisions on what GCSEs to offer at a local level are for individual schools to take, all state funded schools have a statutory duty to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, and this is replicated in academy funding agreements.

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