Monday 31 August 2009

Call for more funding for school autism units

The Herald reports that Scottish local authorities are coming under increasing pressure to provide more specialist places for pupils with autism.

The row has come to a head after a court case involving Ross McLaughlin, a 12-year-old Glasgow pupil with autism. Ross was assessed as requiring a specialist place when he moved from Caledonia Primary School, in Baillieston, Glasgow, to nearby Bannerman High School.

He was then told there was no place for him because the unit, which caters for 12 pupils, was full, and that he would have to be supported in a mainstream classroom on a temporary basis.

His parents sought help from Govan Law Centre's Education Law Unit. Glasgow City Council initially contested the action, but, a few days before the court hearing, Ross was offered a place in the unit at Bannerman High.

GLC's Iain Nisbet, said the law was clear that education authorities had a duty to make adequate provision for children with additional support needs - and that costs could not be an easy excuse for failing to do so.

"It is a continuing source of frustration that education authorities have not made the necessary arrangements to accommodate the needs of all of their autistic pupils, leading to an annual lucky dip for parents seeking places," he said.

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