§ Dr. Kumar
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that current school-aged children with autism have suitable provision made for them; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that every local education authority will make available for each registered pupil with special educational needs, with particular reference to autistic spectrum disorder, the special educational provision which that learning difficulty calls for; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what steps he is taking to ensure that every local education authority places the most important component of an autistic child's education on the statement of special educational needs of each child it has identified as having autism; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what steps he is taking to ensure that every local education authority has a range of provision for children with autism that includes specialist provision; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) what steps he is taking to ensure that every local education authority ensures that sufficient schemes are available to provide the opportunity of appropriate education for all pupils with autistic spectrum disorder in their area; and if he will make a statement; 
(6) if he has obtained from each local education authority a copy of the guidance which they make available to the public on the educational services for children with autistic spectrum disorder; and if he will make a statement; 
(7) what steps he is taking to ensure that the guidance on educational services for children with autistic spectrum disorder, available to the public from local education authorities, is fair and consistent throughout England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
Schools and local education authorities are under a duty to identify children with special educational needs, including those with autistic spectrum disorders, and to arrange provision which meets the needs of individual children. Statements of special educational need set out the range of difficulties and the special provision to be made for the education of children with the most severe and complex needs, including a proportion of the children whose needs arise from autistic spectrum disorders. When arranging provision, after consultation with parents, local education authorities are able to place children with autism in mainstream schools, SEN units in mainstream schools, special schools or specialist autism schools, either in the maintained, voluntary or independent sectors. The Department is funding five regional pilots which will be looking at arrangements for the co-ordination of SEN provision and services. It is expected that some of the projects will focus on provision for pupils with autism. The Department aims to extend regional co-operation arrangements to all areas from April 2000.
Under the Education (School Information) (England) Regulations 1998 local education authorities are required to publish annually information about the arrangements they make for children with special educational needs, including those with autistic spectrum disorders.485W
Authorities may, if they wish, publish specific guidance on the arrangements they make for children with autistic spectrum disorders. Any such guidance must be consistent with authorities' duties under the law and have regard to the SEN Code of Practice.