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Ambitious about Autism's new 'Ruled Out' campaign on academic exclusion

(87 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 11-Feb-14 14:27:08


Ambitious about Autism have launched a new campaign today called Ruled Out. It focuses on children with autism and asks why they miss out on school.

Ambitious about Autism say:

'Children with autism are disproportionately affected by both formal and illegal school exclusion. Some parents find it difficult to find a school that can meet their child’s needs and as a result their children are put on part-time timetables, excluded or not able to access the curriculum they are entitled to. In short, they miss out on education.

4 in 10 children with autism have been excluded informally and therefore illegally during their time at school.
20% of children with autism have been formally excluded in the past 12 months.
Over half of parents of children with autism say they have kept their child out of school for fear that the school is unable to provide appropriate support.'

The campaign has the following aims:

Every family of a child with autism should know their rights, and have the resources to help their child get the support they are entitled to at school.
Every school should have access to an autism specialist teacher, to build capacity among schools staff and to support children with autism to learn and achieve.
Every local authority should set out in its local offer the support available in its area to ensure children with autism have access to quality full-time education.

Ambitious About Autism has asked if Mumsnet would like to sign up as an official supporter of the campaign, and as ever we said we'd need to run it past our posters. So if you have any thoughts on that, do please let us know; and of course if you'd like to take action to support the campaign at an individual level, you can see how to do that at the bottom of this page.


lougle Tue 11-Feb-14 14:34:02

Hi Rowan

It's a massive issue for many children with SN, ASD or not. I can completely understand why AAA is campaigning about this. Incidentally, do you know if they are campaigning for suitable education, or suitable mainstream education specifically? I think how much I support the campaign may depend on this.

autumnsmum Tue 11-Feb-14 14:38:08

Agree with lougle

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 11-Feb-14 14:42:40

Thanks Lougle - we will pass it on and let you know what they say.

moondog Tue 11-Feb-14 14:46:10

It would be good if you could follow up my request (I have already asked you twice) to get Professor Richard Hastings onto the MNSN board for a Q&A session. Professor Hastings is one of the leading professionals in the field of LD and Autism and is heavily involved in both Ambitious about Autism and Treehouse.

He has very kindly agreed to this but MN have not taken me up on this!
Getting tiring keeping on asking!

moondog Tue 11-Feb-14 14:48:16

Here is one of the threads I started asking how many people would be interested.
Many are.

StarlightMcKingsThree Tue 11-Feb-14 14:52:41

I support the premise but I just wondered what the following meant:

a) 'Every school should have access to an autism specialist teacher'

As far as I am aware, every school does have access to this resource, but they are usually expected to pay for it and often don't want to. Excluding a child is cheaper.

b) 'Every family should know their rights, and have the resources to help their child get the support they are entitled to at school'

I do agree with this, but I am unclear as to what is being proposed here. What resources does AAA think parents need. My understanding is that you can have pretty large resources and know your rights but often that simply expedites the exclusion.

c) 'Every Authority should set out its local offer'

I thought that every LA was expected to do this anyway. And there is a world of different between 'support available' and support that is accessible or even helpful.

However, on balance, I feel that this issue (though unsure of the solutions) is an extremely important one and would support it being in the media and awareness of it being raised.

StarlightMcKingsThree Tue 11-Feb-14 14:54:25

And I would hugely appreciate the honour of being able to chatt to Richard Hastings.

moondog Tue 11-Feb-14 15:12:11

Gosh, look! There he is, on the team of expert advisers to Ambitious about Autism!

Expert Advisers
Our team of expert advisers are leading academics, clinicians, lawyers, and communications professionals – all with an interest in autism and a passion to raise awareness and understanding. They provide advice and guidance on specific projects and campaigns and all work on a voluntary basis. We are honoured to be able to draw on the expertise of:
•Irving Anderson
•Judith Barnard
•Prof. Simon Baron Cohen
•Steve Broach
•Leo Capella
•Prof. Tony Charman
•Prof. Richard Hastings
•Julia Hobsbawm
•Johnny Hornby
•Prof. Pat Howlin
•Jonathan Meth
•James Partridge OBE
•Nick Peacey
•Dr. Liz Pellicano
•Mark Schmid
•Dr. Rowie Shaw
•Su Thomas
•Richard Townley
•Gaby Zein

StarlightMcKingsThree Tue 11-Feb-14 15:21:08

I'd pay lots of money to see a discussion between some of those geezers.

It's all I'm sayin......

lougle Tue 11-Feb-14 15:55:35

I back Moondog's request, too smile

OneInEight Tue 11-Feb-14 17:18:51

Yes, please support this campaign. My son's (AS) have received multiple illegal and fixed-term exclusions. One a permanent exclusion and the other forced into reduced hours.

LetZygonsbeZygons Tue 11-Feb-14 18:12:32

yes! mine was excluded many times. I was livid and couldn't take the complaint further.
meanwhile obviously badly behaved children (no sn, and I knew them personally so not being judgy)got away with it all and were NEVER excluded.

now my poor DC has that forever on her record.
always thought it was unfair.

shes home schooled now as she couldn't manage and nor could I with all the stress of school.

zzzzz Tue 11-Feb-14 19:01:14

Moondogs thread reads that RH is going to do a web chat in early March. It isn't March yet so presumably it hasn't happened yet.

When you say he's an expert on evidence based intervention, do you mean ABA?

HQ interesting, but like star I'm not sure this isn't "in theory" there, so not really that ambitious. As lougle said are they talking about ms only, because frankly that isn't an ambition I can endorse.

moondog Tue 11-Feb-14 19:05:28

There are many evidence based interventions (including |ABA) and he knows more than 99.5% of the population about what works. He is the business.

iAutism Tue 11-Feb-14 19:20:47

SKY NEWS Autism Four In 10 Children Illegally Excluded

Re Tweet if you on Twitter

LetZygonsbeZygons Tue 11-Feb-14 19:31:19

DC was excluded in infant and juniors.

anyone know if they can be scrapped from her records on the basis/reason of disability doiscrimination?

I know it was long time ago and I got nowhere then, but my childs not a 'criminal' and she shouldn't have this following her.

OneInEight Tue 11-Feb-14 21:44:00

LetZygons - We were told that primary school exclusions get wiped off the record when they move to secondary. I hope its true.

hiddenname Tue 11-Feb-14 22:02:14

I think MN should help support the campaign as children with Autism missing education is something we commonly see here on the MNSN boards.
My dc's story is one of the case studies in the report and I was at Westminster earlier attending the launch event.

Regarding illegal exclusions, Ofsted's new subsidiary guidance to their inspectors from January 2014 states that 'Should inspectors find that the school has used exclusion illegally, this should be taken very seriously and taken into account when judging leadership and management.'
Hopefully this might mean that schools will be a bit more wary of illegally excluding in future but we'll see.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 11-Feb-14 22:54:14

Just disappointing to see such a weak focus on outcomes.

Awareness raising is great but it has to have a purpose as otherwise parents are just left to police which is what is happening already,

So, yes, more parents will know the law, but they will still be left to enforce it which is really unfair.

There's no attempt to get to grips with the real issue. The education system is often not fit for purpose to meet the needs of many children. And the rampant lawbreaking from LAs.

This campaign should be aimed at stopping the lawbreaking by demanding better oversight and accountability and improved support for parents taking on LAs.

Local Offer is just a load of old nonsense and meaningless in this context but I suppose it is some kind of tenuous link to the chidlren and families bill which the report suggests will make a positive difference - can't see how in terms of unlawful practices??

So fantastic to see this raised as someone who has had a son in this position but not one thing suggested would have helped me fight a LA prepared to do anything to avoid paying for provision.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 12-Feb-14 00:24:42

I'd like to know - they spent a lot of time getting people's stories, did they ever run their suggested campaign demands passed the parents they spoke to?

Also, AAA must know that so much ASC 'specialist' advice in mainstream is outdated, non-evidence based and generic. So how does 'access' to it help? Particularly when, as Star says, schools can already have access to this but either don't bother or its of no use.

Or are there going to be some lovely lucrative contracts up for grabs care of CFB to provide this advice via third sector partners?

Also, why did they not link up with disability researchers in this field and other organisations e.g, Alfie and CSIE? The NAS did a campaign about CAMHS a few years back which could have informed this.

Why is it not more joined up to provide a much more evidence based campaign strategy?

Engaging the LGO for a start - and Ofsted - is pretty basic stuff.

Sorry, the more I think about it, the more I feel this is such a wasted opportunity. You get everyone's attention for a few minutes, for what?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 12-Feb-14 11:54:25


It would be good if you could follow up my request (I have already asked you twice) to get Professor Richard Hastings onto the MNSN board for a Q&A session. Professor Hastings is one of the leading professionals in the field of LD and Autism and is heavily involved in both Ambitious about Autism and Treehouse.

He has very kindly agreed to this but MN have not taken me up on this!
Getting tiring keeping on asking!

Apologies moondog - we got all busy behind the scenes setting up the chat, but didn't let you know we'd done so. Professor Hastings is on board and will be doing the webchat in early March

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 12-Feb-14 11:55:19

OK, we've had the following response from Ambitious about Autism to the question about mainstream/specialised settings:

"We want good quality full time provision for children with autism whatever type of school they are in. We know that for many children with autism mainstream education can be a really positive experience - providing schools fulfil their duties to make reasonable adjustments. For some children a specially adapted curriculum and input from other professionals like speech and language therapists will be essential to their progress at school. This support can be available in any setting, and we support parents and young people’s right to choose a type of school that works best for them.

What is clear is that no child with autism should miss out on their right to a good quality full time education. It is essential schools of all types are supportive of children with autism so that they are able to reach their potential."

bochead Wed 12-Feb-14 12:36:30

I'm behind this one wholeheartedly. My personal opinion is that more and more children are being managed out of the state sector by both schools and LA's, and it is a scandal. Many more are being babysat as opposed to educated, and that's a scandal too.

AAA were the charity that helped me retain my sanity when I was in London - fantastic organisation. They are all about evidence based practice, and do a LOT behind the scenes for families without any credit iykwim.

zzzzz Wed 12-Feb-14 13:24:59

We want good quality full time provision for children with autism whatever type of school they are in


Though the rest does seem ms focused. For many children ms education is ALWAYS going to be a compromise to the childs education. People blather on about the "social" implications of ss and seem to think that children with disabilities should be satisfied if they are receiving an "alright" education in ms. I think this group of individuals needs their education/qualifications MORE than a nt child.

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