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School staff should have better understanding of autism, says minister

06/03/2009 Joanna
The attitudes of school staff need to change to ensure that autistic pupils' academic performance is boosted, it has been argued.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools and Learners, Sarah McCarthy-Fry MP, suggested that the "experience" of these young people in education needs to be improved, reports the Times Educational Supplement.

The minister called for a change in school ethos to improve autistic teenagers' GCSE results at the Autism Education Trust's first national conference.

In 2007, just 22 per cent of pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder achieved five good GCSEs, according to government figures.

Ms McCarthy-Fry also stated that those in teaching jobs should be equipped with more information about the condition, which affects 133,500 pupils in the UK, 70 per cent of whom are educated in mainstream schools.

'We need to build their understanding of autistic spectrum disorders and how to meet the needs of those children,' the news source quoted the minister as stating.

Last week a bill that would see autistic children offered more support by their local authorities passed its first challenge by gaining approval from the majority of MPs in parliament.
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