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(UK) Birmingham: "Schools are twice as likely to expel autistic pupils"

June 5, 2022, Birmingham Live: Mum says autistic child ‘scared of school’ as exclusion rates of special needs children rocket

New research shows schools are twice as likely to expel autistic pupils

A Birmingham mum said her autistic son was scared of school after a series of exclusions she considered "unfair". Emma Taylor-Turner, from Quinton, said she had been forced to take her child out of school twice after he was "unfairly" punished by staff she claimed "did not understand his condition".

New research revealed autistic pupils were twice as likely to be expelled from school than those who do not have special needs. According to the report, that is due to the failure of staff to make reasonable adjustments for students, inadequate systems and policies, and budget cuts.

Emma is currently looking for a new school for her 11-year-old son, who she claimed was ‘beaten up’ for being autistic at his school in Oldbury. She said there was a ‘blame culture’ attached to autistic pupils and insufficient training given to staff about how to support them through school.

Emma's child was first excluded from school aged just five after she said he accidentally hit a teacher during a meltdown in the school canteen. ...

"We need to change the culture that says autistic children are the problem.”

Research by the University of Birmingham’s Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) found at least 25 per cent of parents of autistic children had reported unofficial or illegal exclusions of their children. Prof Karen Guldberg, director of ACER, said: “The impact of exclusions on autistic pupils and their families is profound and can be lifelong - juggling financial pressure with taking time off work and coping with the family’s mental health....

The University of Birmingham report indicated that, over the last five years, every region in England had seen an increase in the number of school exclusions for pupils on the autism spectrum of between 45 and 100 per cent.

The findings of this investigation were presented to Huw Merriman MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, who said: “This is a deeply concerning report, which strongly echoes the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism's own research with the National Autistic Society....

Emma Taylor-Turner wants to see a dedicated autism unit at every mainstream school.

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