Mum’s battle to get fair support for Marcus

PUBLISHED: 14:00 11 August 2012

Marcus Blyth(8) with his mum Sharon Hope.

Marcus Blyth(8) with his mum Sharon Hope.


THE mother of a boy with complex learning issues has complained to the director of children’s services after a four year fight to get him the right support.

Eight-year-old Marcus Blyth and his mother Sharon Hope have been told by doctors his learning issues are complex and include dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome.

Despite pursuing the Local Education Authority in an attempt to get Marcus more support for his educational needs, Sharon was told there was no funding available for her son.

Desperate and worried for her child’s future, the 43-year-old decided to pull her son out of his mainstream school at Mendip Green in January to teach him from their home in Milton, with help from private tutor Debbie Quinn.

Sharon said: “It was a hard decision to make but the right decision. It puts a strain on your life and health but I am lucky to have my parents, partner and Debbie around me.”

But Sharon did not give up her fight to get Marcus the right support he needed and secured an assessment from Somerset-based national charity bibic.

She said: “As a parent you’re desperately at the end of your tether and there is no recognition for these learning difficulties. After fighting an extremely hard battle with a mountain of evidence from various professionals we still had issues towards the end and so I am pursuing a complaint.”

After four years of struggle, Marcus has now been accepted at Westhaven School, where he will be able to receive the type of support needed for his learning difficulties.

Sharon said even though they have finally succeeded, the process took far too long, was stressful and she does not want this to happen to any other parents and children.

She said: “It seems parents are fighting an impossible system these days and with the current financial situation, for some it is easier to carry on and leave children in school. But parents need to stand up and fight for their children.

“We need clear policies for educating children like my son and specialist teachers which children can go to when schools have difficulties. It’s not about the name of the school but the child.

“Marcus is so much happier, confident and looking forward to school. We will always have ups and downs like most parents but we hope and pray that history does not repeat itself.”

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