The National Autistic Society has welcomed the report from the Education Select Committee on behaviour and discipline in schools.
Director of Education at the NAS Jane Vaughan gave evidence to the Committee to feed into the report. We also submitted written evidence to the Committee.
The NAS is particularly pleased that a number of key points that Jane made in her oral evidence were reflected in the report and its recommendations, including:
Ø The importance of ensuring that all school staff have training in autism. The report recommends that all schools should ensure that their staff can identify special educational needs (SEN) and that teachers should receive SEN training as part of their initial teacher training.
The NAS believes that this is fundamental to improving provision for children with autism. We also believe that all schools should be able to receive support from autism specialist teachers who should be employed to work across clusters of schools.
Ø The importance of ensuring that behaviour related to autism is not mistaken for bad behaviour. The report recommends that exclusion is used as a trigger for assessing the needs of a child.
This is something we have been calling for, for some years and we would urge the Government to adopt this policy.
Ø The importance of focusing on engaging with a child’s learning and the support they need to learn rather than the behaviour itself. The report recommends that schools ensure that they are providing appropriate support to a child so that they can get the most out of their education.
We also welcome the following conclusions and recommendations from the report:
- Guidance on restraint needs to include advice on SEN and the current requirement to inform parents when their child has been restrained at school is important.
- Independent Appeals Panels for exclusions should be retained
- The Government’s plans to introduce a phonics reading test at age 6 to identify learning problems should be expanded to look also at language comprehension
- The Inclusion Development Programme (IDP), which was a Government funded project which included the development of resources on autism for teachers, should be refreshed and disseminated
- Local authorities should retain responsibility for some local specialist services that provide support to schools around special educational needs. This may include educational psychology or autism outreach teams.
The National Autistic Society will be putting pressure on the Government to accept this findings and recommendations in the lead up to the publication of the Green Paper on SEN, expected later this month.
Click here to read the report