A MOTHER has secured funding for her autistic son’s education after taking Essex County Council to court.

Tina Lawrence launched her battle, on behalf of her 17-year-old son Mark, after County Hall decided to withdraw his funding for one-to-one education.

After her appeal was also rejected she took the case to a tribunal representing herself, at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, and won.

Essex County Council refused to give Mark an education, health and care plan last year.

Mark, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 16, wants to be a games designer but needs one-to-one support while on his information communication technology course at Colchester Institute.

Essex County Council said Mark, who also suffers from ADHD and epilepsy, would not be eligible for the funding for second year of his course.

Mrs Lawrence, of Nash Close, Manningtree, said: “I first put in for a statutory assessment when he was 14 but he wasn’t diagnosed with autism until he was 16.

“He had home schooling for a year until the age of 17 when he went to Colchester Institute.

“He loves it and wants to go on to do the Level 3 course, but the council said they would not fund it after he turned 19.

“The new rules says every child up to the age of 25 is entitled to care if they need it.

“He gets one-to-one support now and he relies on that. The tribunal could visibly see that he needs it and ruled in our favour.”

Mrs Lawrence, a manager at Busy Bees Kindergarten at Highfields School in Colchester Road, Lawford, decided to represent herself to save lawyer’s fees.

“You have to do what you can for your child,” she said.

“I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to give Mark the opportunity to go on to do what he loves.

“I know him best and know he needs the support.

“If we had won the lottery we wouldn’t be any happier – Mark is over the moon.”

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “Young people who have a statement or education, health and care plan leaving school and going to college do not usually require an EHCP in order to access funding.

“However, we will of course be happy to abide by the ruling of the tribunal.”