“Excellence and equity for all” is the Scottish Government’s vision for education in Scotland. There are growing concerns in Scotland about the educational experiences of pupils with additional support needs, and in particular of autistic children. A number of reports have highlighted some of the pressures in education in meeting the support needs of autistic pupils. There is also significant anecdotal evidence from organisations supporting autistic children and their families that some autistic children are not having their right to an education fulfilled, and are missing a significant and concerning amount of school.
Growing concerns about these issues across all the partners led to us coming together to try and gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of these pupils and their families. We sought to understand the amount of time some autistic pupils are missing from school and the reasons why this has happened, whether alternative arrangements for their education have been put in place, what support has been offered to return to school, and importantly, what the impact on the children and young people and their
families has been.