ASL Myth: Parents and schools must take part in mediation if they have a disagreement about a child’s additional support needs

Fact:  Mediation is a voluntary process.  A parent, or school or  local authority cannot be forced to take part.

Most disagreements about a child’s additional support needs or additional support for learning can be resolved at either school or local authority level. However, if this is not possible, parents, schools or local authorities can request independent mediation. Mediation brings parties together to work with each other to try to resolve a disagreement. It gives participants the opportunity to express their concerns and offer solutions, with the help of an impartial mediator. The focus of the mediation is on finding a solution that is in the best interests of the child or young person. Mediation is voluntary so all parties must agree to take part.

Being involved in mediation will not affect a parent’s right to take a disagreement, or any other concern to a more formal or statutory review. This means that parents are still able to use the other routes to resolve disagreements such as the education appeals committee, independent adjudication and the Additional Support Needs Tribunal. The hope would be that mediation can be an effective tool to explore disagreements in detail, possibly taking away the need to access these other routes.

All local authorities must provide an independent mediation service and should be raising awareness of this process with parents of children with additional support needs.

For more information please see Factsheet 8: Mediation

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