To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of autistic children and young people that have yet to return to full-time education following the periods of school closures as a result of covid-19.
We do not collect data on the attendance of children and young people broken down by specific conditions. Statistics on attendance can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have published and updated guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision to provide additional information and support for delivering education in these settings, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings. This is clear that regular attendance at school, both special and mainstream, is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development and school attendance has been mandatory since the end of the last national lockdown.
To support this, we recommend that leaders in education work collaboratively with families to reassure them and to help their child engage with their everyday activities. Discussions should have a collaborative approach, focusing on the welfare of the child or young person and responding to the concerns of the parent, carer or young person.
Any families with concerns about their child’s health should speak with their child’s GP or health care team for advice and guidance.