teacher 2More than half of teachers feel they have not had adequate training in teaching pupils with autism, a survey has found.

The survey, conducted on behalf of charity Ambitious about Autism’s Schools Report 2013, also found that more than a third of teachers say that accessing specialist support for children and young people with autism has become more difficult in the past year.

It also found that the number of children whose Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) lists autism as a primary need has increased by 6.5% to 47,225 since 2012.

Ambitious about Autism’s Schools Report 2013 brings together a range of key statistics that illustrate how schools are performing for children and young people with autism, focusing on five key areas: support at school, exclusions, bullying, achievement and outcomes.

It concludes that little progress has been made in the past year on all five outcomes and says that it is critical that schools are able to access specialist services to support teaching staff where necessary.

Clare Bull, policy and public affairs officer at Ambitious about Autism, said: “It is a serious concern that teachers are finding it harder to get specialist support for children with autism now than a year ago. This is a step backwards and we need to look very hard at why this is happening when the Government wants to improve the support young people with SEN get through the Children and Families Bill.

“Some local authorities employ specialist autism teachers, who make a huge difference to children’s education by sharing expertise across local schools. But we need every local authority to do this, to stop this worrying trend to towards inadequate support for children with autism. Given that 71% of children with autism are educated in mainstream schools, providing teachers with the correct training to support pupils with autism is vital.”