PARENTS are holding a rally in the city to demand more support for children with special educational needs.

Worcestershire mum Tracy Winchester has organised the rally in a bid to get more cash for children with special educational needs and disabilities [SEND].

The mother, whose two children are both autistic, was inspired to set up the rally to coincide with a SEND protest in London.

She added: “We thought what might be more powerful and more accessible was if we could do something locally.

“There will be banners, maybe some stalls, with various SEND organisations, and speakers, including local people that are autistic themselves.”

The occupational therapist expects more than 100 people to attend the rally, which she hopes will be a family-friendly event, with minimal noise and disruption.

The 39-year-old claims she spent about £12,000 in her fight to secure help for her seven-year-old son, Rowan.

The money went towards battling Worcestershire County Council, after it refused to provide her son with an education, health and care plan [EHCP].

These plans are required before a child can attend a special needs school or receive extra funding.

She said her son’s school refused to back her application for the plan, even though he had been diagnosed with autism when he was five.

The mum added that her son ‘masked’ his condition at school, appearing to behave like other children, and then had a ‘massive meltdown’ when he got home.

Ms Winchester added: “We have been through the mill, we have struggled as a family. Education has been a big part of that.

“My son was out of school for 19 months, his needs weren’t recognised in a mainstream setting. His anxiety was through the roof.

“We did a parental request for an EHCP because we didn’t have the school’s support. They refused to issue one [an EHCP].

“They said there wasn’t enough evidence.

“We ended up in a tribunal to get an EHCP. It cost us thousands of pounds, it was horrendous. We were forced to commission our own independent assessments. It was all overturned and he’s now in a special school.”

Ms Winchester, from Bromsgrove, said she has now applied for an EHCP for her four-year-old daughter, Maive, although she fears she will have to go through another battle to get a plan for her.

The exact location of the Worcester rally, on May 30, has not yet been announced.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “I’m really proud of the progress we are making in our SEND improvement plan and in our collaborative work with parent representatives.

“We know there are many challenges that lie ahead, including problems being experienced nationally about funding, but we will continue to work closely with young people, parents, carers, partner organisations and schools to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND.”