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Lisa Fernandes

Abstract

Current figures suggest one in every hundred UK children and adults are autistic. The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice (2015) places a statutory duty on local authorities to incorporate learners with SEND, including autism, in mainstream educational settings. This thought piece explores how although policy reforms suggest inclusive education for all, there is evidence of an increasing number of young people on the autism spectrum being excluded from mainstream educational settings. Exclusions from school can have a devastating impact on self-esteem, mental health and future prospects of the learners. In addition to caring for learners, it is important for educational establishments to extend the care to the staff team in order to support their emotional and physical well-being. Care has a fundamental role to play in educational settings. Ethics of Care is a normative ethical theory. Central to this theory is reciprocal, interpersonal relationships. Starting with an overview of ethics of care, I will then examine the exclusion of autistic learners and consider whether a focus on this philosophy within teacher education has the potential to reduce the exclusion of autistic learners.

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