Department of Education

Managing the demand and cost for specialist autism services by implementing the AET programme



The Autism Education Trust (AET) can help your local authority reduce the demand for specialist autism services and help you decrease the proportion of local authority spend on specialist services by upskilling staff and leaders in mainstream settings and enable them to support autistic children and young people.

On average a specialist education placement costs £67K/per year per child or young person. The AET can support your local authority to meet the needs of all the autistic children and young people across your local authority by implementing the AET programme (total average cost is £15K/per year). Data measuring the impact of the AET programme provides evidence that the AET programme prevents exclusions, reduces demand for specialist services and saves money.

If you would like the AET to visit your local authority to discuss how we can help you meet your specific local challenges please click the “Request a call back” button at the bottom of this page or contact:

Email: info@autismeducationtrust.org.uk

Telephone: 0207 903 3650

It only costs a local authority £15K to save £12 million

Find out how!
Read the case studies of Birmingham County Council and Leicestershire County Council below.


In recent years, through their experience of supporting local authorities across England and Wales the Institute of Public Care have constructed a model for managing demand for autism and/ or learning disability services. The model was co-designed by people with autism and/or disabilities, their families, social care, health and education professionals and representatives from wider community groups.

The model is based on the principle that a co-ordinated whole system response to support people and their families during key life episodes could, in some instances, reduce the need for some types of expensive “specialist” provision.

AET have applied the IPC managing demand model in thinking about managing the demand for specialist services for autistic children and young people. The application of the IPC model to the AET Programme is described on the diagram.

The AET programme results in savings to the state precisely because it addresses the key issue that the Institute of Public Policy Research (2017) highlighted was important in enabling schools to have the capacity to prevent exclusion and reduce demand on more intensive services:

‘Workforce development is key to preventing rising exclusion. As resources outside schools diminish, capacity inside the workforce to deal with complex needs is more and more pressing.’

The AET programme is a structured, cost-effective approach to skilling up the workforce in mainstream and specialist settings to support autistic children and young people via reasonable adjustments and targeted support and is a good example of the practical application of the IPC model for managing demand.


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