Exclusions of children with autism have increased by over 60% across the Essex over the past five years, new data has revealed.
Latest figures show 535 pupils with autism were excluded in one year – a 62% increase since 2011/12.
Although there has been an increase in the number of children with autism in schools in the region, the exclusion rate remains disproportionate to their number. Since 2011, the overall number of pupils excluded from school in the East of England has risen by 0.2%.
Ambitious about Autism is calling for urgent action to find out why children with autism in the region are disproportionately at risk.
One former local techer said: “Schools just dont have the backing or support to cope with childen with autism. Its a very sad situation that we are in now.
“Once they are excluded, other schools wont take them on and it puts immense pressure on families.
Ambitious about Autism has submitted its findings to the School Exclusions review, an independent review, commissioned by the Government and led by former children’s minister Edward Timpson.
Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, Jolanta Lasota, said: “Schools across the East of England are shutting out hundreds of children with autism.
“The impact of these exclusions can’t be underestimated.
“Not only do children fall behind academically, but the isolation from their peers creates deep unhappiness, social anxiety and mental health problems.
“Our evidence clearly shows children with autism are disproportionately at risk from exclusion, compared to other pupils.
“The new School Exclusions review must get to the bottom of what is happening to these children – who have been failed for too long by our education system.”
Ambitious about Autism supports several recommendations to tackle the growing rise in autism exclusions. These include:
• Making schools financially and academically responsible for children they exclude or place in alternative provision.
• Ensuring Ofsted has the power to thoroughly investigate unlawful exclusions and take appropriate action.
• Strengthening the accountability of the system to ensure schools and local authorities are incentivised to support children with autism. For example, examining whether to make schools financially and academically responsible for children they exclude or place in alternative provision.
Ambitious about Autism has launched a new campaign called “We need an education” to draw attention to the thousands of children with autism being denied an education.
Find out more here: https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/we-do-need-an-education-sign-the-pledge