HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc1042-3W
Mrs. Laing

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to provide appropriate educational facilities for children with autism; and if she will make a statement. [58929]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

Local education authorities have a duty to secure sufficient schools in their areas and, in doing so, have regard to the need for securing that special educational provision is made for pupils who have special educational needs, including children with autism. Each year authorities must submit for approval, to the local School Organisation Committee, a School Organisation Plan setting out how they will secure sufficient provision, including the provision proposed for children with special educational needs. Local Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships are responsible locally, in association with local education authorities, for early years education and child care provision and are making special educational needs support a priority between 2002–03 and 2001 05.

Children with autism are benefiting along with all other children from the considerable extra resources this Government have devoted to education, including the three-fold increase in the capital spending on schools from £775 million in 1997–98 to £2.2 billion in 2001–02. The forthcoming guidance from the Department's Autism Working Group will help schools and local education authorities use the available resources to plan and make good quality provision for children with autistic spectrum disorders.

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