THERE are 32 secondary schools in Gloucestershire but not one of them has a Communication & Interaction Unit designed to meet the needs of autistic pupils.
With the 12 specialist schools in the county at close to full capacity and already stretched, this means that children with autism are being sent to mainstream secondary schools with limited support.
It is estimated that there are over 1,200 children with autism in the county. Many parents of these children want to allow them to be able to experience mainstream education alongside the safety net of the units, rather than sending their child to a special school which may be far from home and expensive.
Programmes like Impact, launched last year by the county council, mean mainstream schools are able to access a certain level of extra training and support, and only time will tell how effective it proves.
Clearly the next government needs to introduce extra support for children with learning disabilities.