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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 16:09 GMT
Autistic pupils 'underachieving'
Child writing
The report said the targets set for autistic pupils were too low
The standard of education for children with autism has been criticised by school inspectors.

A report by the HM Inspectorate of Education said that most autistic pupils were developing well but found the targets set for them were too low.

It said councils had failed to monitor the progress of autistic children and had no record of problems. The quality of staff training was also criticised.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) is now campaigning to improve standards.

While the report praised the variety and range of educational provision for pupils with autism in Scotland, it criticised local authorities for failing to make parents aware of the full range of services.

'Key area'

Senior chief inspector Graham Donaldson said: "Often not enough attention was given to addressing pupils' autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or their achievement across the curriculum.

"In many cases, the progress of pupils was not tracked systematically and parents were not always kept informed about the range of provision available for their children.

"Training for all staff involved in the education of pupils with ASD is also a key area for development."

It warned that the consequences would be serious if reforms were not carried out.

The report was published on the same day as a new campaign was launched with the aim of improving the education offered to children with autism.

The NAS campaign calls for children to go to the school which is right for them.

Mainstream schools

Most autistic children go to mainstream schools but some go to special schools.

The society has found that one third of children have to wait a year for enough support and the same number are bullied.

It also believes two thirds of schools fail to understand autism.

The society has called for more training to be made available to staff.

Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's children's commissioner, said the law directing children with special needs to mainstream schools was flawed.

Children's Commissioner Kathleen Marshall
Ms Marshall supported the calls for improvements to be made

She also backed calls from the society for improvements to be made.

Almost 50,000 families in Scotland are affected by autism.

Those people affected often have problems socialising and could also have obsessional interests.

The NAS maintains that the Scottish education system can add to these problems.

Last month, the schools minister for England announced that more funding could be found for teaching autistic youngsters south of the border.

Lord Adonis said there would be improvements in training.

The pledge came after the children's commissioner for England described existing provision as "shocking and appalling".




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SEE ALSO
Minister vows autism cash review
16 Sep 06 |  Education
Call for wider autism awareness
21 May 05 |  Scotland
Calls for better autism schooling
23 May 06 |  Education
Autism centre 'shows way forward'
24 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Autism projects given 2m boost
03 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Mother sheds light on autism
03 Mar 04 |  Scotland

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