MP calls for Government help to improve employment prospects for special needs pupils

Waveney MP Peter Aldous yesterday asked Minister of State, Sarah Teather MP, about improving the transition from education to work for special needs pupils as research shows that 85% of adults with autism are not in full-time employment.

Aldous was speaking in Education Questions in the House of Commons after having visited special needs schools in the Waveney Constituency and hearing about the difficulties pupils have in the transition from school to the work place.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What recent progress his Department has made in implementing the proposals in the special needs Green Paper; and if he will make a statement. [89253]

The Minister of State, Department for Education (Sarah Teather) rose—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker: Order.

Sarah Teather: When all that has settled down, we have established a number of local pathfinders to test the best ways of implementing the key reforms, and are providing support to local authorities in developing local provision for children and young people with special educational needs.

We will publish a response to the consultation on the Green Paper shortly. This will set out the progress we have made and the next steps in taking forward our reforms.

Peter Aldous: While the Warren and Ashley schools in Lowestoft provide first-class education for pupils with special educational needs, research by Ambitious about Autism shows that 85% of adults with autism are not in full-time employment. Will the Minister set out what she is doing to improve the transition from education to work for special needs pupils?

Sarah Teather: Again, trying to make sure that we have better transition is something on which the Green Paper and our response will specifically focus. That is why are changing the statementing process. A new education, health and care plan running from nought to 25 ought to enable us to think about outcomes and plan right from the beginning—not just as an afterthought when young people reach 16. We should focus much more on outcomes right from the beginning. In addition, there are a number of projects that the pathfinders are doing for us that look at transition. The Green Paper also highlights our proposals for supported internships, which might make a real difference here.

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