Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather MP gives evidence to APPGA

On the 6th and 13th of March, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) held oral evidence sessions as part of its Commission into Special Educational Needs reform.

The panel, chaired by Robert Buckland MP, heard evidence from the Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather MP, the Shadow Children’s Minister Sharon Hodgson MP, as well as young people with autism (including one of our young campaigners), parents (including one of our ambassadors), teachers, academics and other professionals.

Sarah Teather MP told the cross-party panel of MPs and Peers that the Government would publish a Next Steps document ‘imminently’, in response to the Green Paper consultation last year. She also said the relationship between parents and local authorities was “not working” at present, promising that her planned reforms would ensure greater transparency and closer joint-working between education, health and social care services. 

The sessions were extremely well attended by MPs, Peers and the public, and provided an excellent opportunity for discussion on a range of issues including autism awareness training for teachers in mainstream schools, transition arrangements, and the need to ensure that children with autism access further education, training and employment after finishing at school. 

The APPGA will use the evidence gathered in these oral evidence sessions to inform a forthcoming report on SEN Reform, which will be published and presented directly to the Government later this year.  Its recommendations will also include findings from a public survey of around 1000 people with autism, parents and teachers. 

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