The experiences of marginalised families with autistic children

The DfE report that 2.2% of pupils in England have an autism diagnosis as their primary need. Since 2015/16 that is increasing at an average of 9.5% per year.

This research investigated the key challenges faced by the children and their families and to identify examples of effective working practices with these groups. It used surveys, interviews and online discussions with parents of marginalised children on the autism spectrum; educational professionals working in schools and Local authorities.

Executive summary

  • Certain communities such as children from White British, Black African are over-represented in the school autism population and some other commu-nities such as Pakistani, Indian and White other are under-represented.
  • On average 19% of the whole school population have English as an additional language, but only 13% of the autism school population.
  • 28% of children with autism are on free school meals compared to around 17% of the whole school population.
  • There is lack of diversity within school workforce. While 64% of school pupil are White British, around 90% of teaching staff and 96% of Headteachers are White British. 


Dr Prithvi Perepa, Autism Centre for Education and Research, University of Birmingham 

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