Families of children with special educational needs have lost a High Court challenge against a local authority over funding.

Five children, whose mothers brought a case on their behalf, challenged Surrey County Council's Schools and Special Educational Needs (SSEN) budget for 2018 to 2019 - which they said reduced spending by £21 million.

They argued the council had cut SSEN provision without consulting families and asked High Court judges to rule the decision "unlawful".

However, in a ruling on Friday, Lady Justice Sharp said the budget identified how savings might be made, but no cuts had been decided upon or worked out and therefore there was no duty to consult at that stage.

Sarah Jones, 40, brought the legal action on behalf of her four-year-old son Kyffin Carpenter, who has a neuro-muscular disorder and communicates mostly through sign language.

Alicia McColl, 44, challenged the budget on behalf of her 14-year-old son Kian Hollow who has a range of needs including autistic spectrum disorder.

Both women said they and two other mothers - Debbie Butler and Catriona Ferris - were bringing the case on behalf of families across the UK who were facing difficulties because of cuts to support budgets.

The four women were supported during a hearing in October last year by other parents of children with special educational needs.

They originally challenged potential savings of £21 million set out in the budget, but during the court hearing lawyers focused their submissions on one area of provision amounting to more than £11.5 million.

Rejecting their claim for judicial review, Lady Justice Sharp said the evidence in the case showed the decision being challenged was not a "cut" to spending or services for children with special needs.

Sitting with Mrs Justice McGowan, she added: "What the council has identified is the potential for future savings.

"In those circumstances, the council could not know what the impact of cuts might be in those areas, or consult on them, because at the time the decision under challenge was taken, no cuts had been decided upon or worked out."

Julie Iles, Surrey County Council's cabinet member for all-age learning, said: "We're pleased the court has confirmed our approach was appropriate but we recognise the case has been difficult and sensitive for the families involved.

"We're investing in the services provided to children and young people and our focus has always been on working with families to improve what is offered.

"Our aim is to give families the support they need at the earliest possible opportunity which will offer children and young people the best chance to thrive, ensuring that no one is left behind."