FOI release

Education strategy regarding HF autism, Asperger syndrome / ASCs

A request and disclosure for information relating to the Building Schools for the Future programme and the coalition government's strategy for the education of those with HF autism and Asperger syndrome.

Detail

  • Date requested: 20 July 2010
  • Publish date: 16 August 2010
  • Updated: 9 November 2010

Request

Can the department disclose the following:

  • ‘Building Schools for the Future’- has this strategy been totally scrapped? And what is the name of the strategy for schools in its place, if any?

  • Does it include any consideration for the education needs of those with HF autism, Asperger’s / ASCS?

  • What is the new coalition government’s strategy for the education of those with HF autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?
     

Release

The Building Schools for the Future scheme has been responsible for about one third of this entire department’s capital spending. But throughout its life it has been characterised by massive overspends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy. It is for this reason that we are bringing this programme to a close. It is vital that future capital investment represents good value for money and strongly supports the government’s ambitions to raise standards and tackle disadvantage.

The government remains committed to meeting the needs of children with autism and other special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The department recognises the concern that not all children’s needs are being met. It believes that all children with SEND should have the same opportunities as their peers.

The department recognises that over recent years there has been an assumption that more children with statements of SEN should be educated in mainstream schools and indeed, this bias towards mainstream education is written into the law. What is important is for parents to be empowered to make a choice about where their child goes to school, whether that is a special or mainstream setting.

The life-long nature of autism means it is important that we prepare these children for adulthood, giving them the necessary skills for greater independence and work. For this reason the department will be launching a green paper on SEND in the autumn. It will look at the transition process and how we can make the system less adversarial and more transparent so that parents don’t feel as if they have to battle at every stage to get what their child needs.

We will be working closely with SEN and disability organisations, including those representing the autism community, to ensure we are listening to a wide breadth of views. We also want to hear from parents, young people and all those who have an interest in this area. Details about how to contribute your views will be available on the department’s website over the coming weeks. I do hope you will look out for these and respond.

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