Parents from across Norfolk and Suffolk gathered in Norwich to protest for better support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The protest outside The Forum saw heartfelt pleas and passionate poems as it took place as part of a countrywide SEND Reform day of action which saw similar events in cities including Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham.

It was organised by Chloe Lovelace after her four-year-old son, Noah, who has been diagnosed with autism, was rejected from a Norwich school after they read his Education, Health and Care Plan describing the support he needed.

Norwich Evening News: The SEND Reform protest outside Norwich's ForumThe SEND Reform protest outside Norwich's Forum (Image: Newsquest)

Ms Lovelace was inspired after attending a similar protest in London and she was joined by around 100 more protesters who all had familiar stories to tell of how they had been failed by the education system.

She said: "Once I'd seen the protest in London, I had to bring it to Norfolk.

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"It's a great turnout, all of these people have become united by the issues they've faced.

"This is going to be the first of many, we will not give up on this, the government have got a fight on their hands."

Norwich Evening News: Labour county councillor Maxine Webb with Chloe LovelaceLabour county councillor Maxine Webb with Chloe Lovelace (Image: Newsquest)

She was joined by Labour county councillor for the Wensum ward, Maxine Webb, who is the group's SEND spokeswoman and said the system needed reforming.

Ms Webb said: "There's been a fantastic turnout, it's been very emotional listening to stories from families telling their stories.

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"We all feel that as parents of children with disabilities, we've had similar experiences of being let down by the system, which desperately needs change.

Norwich Evening News: Crowds listened to heartfelt pleas and touching poemsCrowds listened to heartfelt pleas and touching poems (Image: Newsquest)

"We face dead ends at every turn, what can you do? Things aren't getting any better.

"This is a real crisis running through every street in the city."

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Her comments were echoed by Wendy Haddock, who had travelled from the Waveney area after her five-year-old daughter, who requires special educational needs after suffering a brain haemorrhage before birth, was refused additional help from her mainstream school.

Norwich Evening News: Wendy Haddock at the SEND Reform protestWendy Haddock at the SEND Reform protest (Image: Newsquest)

She said: "My daughter has always gone to a mainstream school and not had many issues, but once I asked for an Education, Health and Care Plan to see what could help her, the school flat out refused and said she didn't need it.

"The entire system needs reform, it needs money too, but there's no point putting more cash in if it isn't going to be sorted out.

"After this, I'm going to set up a group for our school to support SEND pupils as the support here today has been amazing."