Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.


29 JAN 2018

Autism and Education

Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about supporting autistic children in schools.

I understand your concern on this matter and hope the following information on this topic from the Department of Education is reassuring:

It is essential, that we have an education system that works for all children, including those with special educational needs such as autism. It is vitally important that autistic children are given the additional support they deserve to achieve educational success and lead happy and fulfilling lives. This is why the recent 'Autism and Education in England 2017' joint report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism and The National Autistic Society is welcomed.
While this report recognises that more can be done to support children with autism in schools, there has already been notable progress in improving the educational infrastructure for children with special educational needs and disabilities. In order to deliver autism awareness training and advice for teachers and other staff, the Department for Education has provided funding to voluntary sector organisations, including the Autism Education Trust (AET). I know the AET has trained more than 150,000 people since 2012, including teaching and support staff, in addition to publishing national autism standards and frameworks.
Further to this, £215 million of capital funding has also been made available to support the expansion of existing provisions for pupils with special education needs and disabilities, including those with autism. There has also been a focus on opening more specialist schools that support children with autism. Under the Free Schools Programme, there are now 29 special free schools in England, including 17 which provide places for children with autism. A further 60 special free schools are due to open in the future, 33 of which will offer provision for children with autism.

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