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On Tuesday 8 February 2011, the Education Bill was debated for the first time in Westminster.


We briefed MPs on the Bill before it was debated and, as a result, the impact of the Bill on children with autism was raised a number of times during the debate.


Read the briefing we sent to MPs.


Exclusions


In particular, we had expressed concerns about the replacement of Independent Appeal Panels for exclusions with Review Panels, which would not have the power to reinstate children who had been permanently excluded.


A number of MPs highlighted the disproportionate number of children with autism who have been excluded. Conservative MP Richard Fuller said that the high number of exclusions of children with autism needed more attention.


Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham said: “Parents of children with disabilities and special needs already face a battle to get them a good education. With changes to admissions and exclusions, which will see schools become judge and jury, the Bill stacks the odds against those children even further”.


Education Minister Nick Gibb said that parents still had the right of appeal on exclusions.


Joined-up working


We are also particularly concerned that the Bill removes the duty on schools to co-operate with other local agencies. We also oppose the Government’s decision to remove the duty on local authorities to develop a Children and Young People’s Plan.


Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke stressed the importance of these plans and of joined-up working between education, health and social care, particularly for those with complex needs, such as autism.


We await the imminent publication of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Green Paper to determine further how the Government intends its educational reforms to impact on children with SEN.


Source:  http://www.autism.org.uk/en-gb/news-and-events/news-from-the-nas/mps-highlight-impact-of-education-bill-on-children-with-autism.aspx



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