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(UK) 200,000 autistic students in England; MP calls for teacher training

Nov 22, 2023, Learning Disability Today: AutismEducationGood practice and guidance MP calls for mandatory learning disability and autism training for education staff

Dame Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport and former Care Minister, is calling on the government to introduce mandatory autism and learning disability training for education staff.

Dame Dineage took to parliament to debate the issue yesterday, and highlighted the urgency of training for education staff on how to best meet the needs of autistic children, children with learning disabilities and special educational needs (SEN).

The debate comes after three petitions which called for mandatory training on neurodiversity for education staff reached nearly 90,000 signatures.

The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is already being used to train health and social care staff, and Paula McGowan, founder of the training, started the petition which calls for this training to be adapted for education staff.

Majority of secondary school teachers have only received half a day’s training on autism

There are around 200,000 autistic pupils in England and nearly 75% of them are in mainstream schools.

However, research by the National Autistic Society shows that 86% of secondary school teachers had received just half a day’s training on autism, and that three in four parents or carers of autistic children feel that their child’s school does not meet their needs.

Furthermore, only a quarter of autistic pupils feel happy at school, with three in four (74%) parents or carers reporting that their child’s school place does not fully meet their needs.

While 87% of educators feel confident teaching autistic pupils, seven in 10 autistic children said school would be better if more teachers understood autism….

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