‘The system is awful’ -Mark Small.


In the UK this week parent of children with special needs have been furious about posts on Twitter from a legal company gloating about tribunal wins against children with special educational needs. This has developed over the last few days with the company at the centre of the atrocity ‘Baker Small’ appearing to lose a large number of contracts with Local Authorities as the penalty for him running his mouth off on a Saturday night. The effects of his comments which can be seen here ( have had a profound effect on me this week.

Our Education Authority used Baker Small for legal issues and certainly adopted the ‘winning’ mentality with regard to Dylan’s  education, not a thought for him, his needs or his future; Just the fight, the money saved, the battle won.

In the last few days I’ve felt insulted. Bitter. Angered by the weekend’s tweets by Baker Small who appeared to enjoy the difficult and heart-rending process of special needs support and tribunal.

I then relieved and reaffirmed by the thousands of parents who agree they and their children have- like us- been bullied by their education authority into shutting up and putting up while watching their children fail. I am glad the SEN battle which is often kept behind closed doors is now exposed and the general distaste from local authorities for families with disabled children is out there for the public to see.

Today, I feel sad, sad for our loss.

Sad for Dylan’s lack of support. His isolation that we as parents have caused by removing him from a substandard school place.

Sad for my loss. I’ve worked in excess of 45 hours a week, every single week, for the last 5 years to fund Dylan’s education because the local authority -advised by Baker Small- reckon that the shoddy placement provided by them was sufficient for Dylan’s needs and so refuse to fund Dylan’s ABA. We have paid over £5000 in tribunal costs to try to fight this and have since paid over £2000 a year to fund and maintain Dylan’s home programme.

I feel sad for Dylan’s brother and sister who always seem to play second fiddle to Dylan’s schooling which has dominated our home life for half a decade. For more than half of Grace’s life we have been juggling parental/teacher/advocate roles when we should’ve been dedicating this time to her and her brother.

I feel sad for Dylans Dad who has the absolutely wonderful job of teaching Dylan at home full time but has sacrificed so much in the process.

We didn’t cause this. We’ve been let down by what Mark Small acknowledged is an awful system and this breaks my heart. While fat cats like him are making money out of this failing system there are thousands like us who are paying the price. With our time, with our money and with our children’s lives. 


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