Where children and young people with SEN experience problems with their education and training, everyone involved hopes to resolve these through discussion between the relevant parties, informal independent dispute resolution or independent mediation processes.
Early education providers, schools and colleges have their own complaints procedures and local authorities have responsibility for considering certain decisions about schools, education and child protection issues.
There is more information about complaints, comments and compliments about Somerset County Council’s services or actions on the Council’s website.
Resolving disagreements through discussion
To start with, a young person, parent or carer could discuss their concerns with the service to resolve any areas of disagreement.
Mediation is free and confidential. It is a voluntary process for parents and young people which can be used if agreement cannot be reached about EHC plans.
Disagreement resolution services
Disagreement resolution services are free, independent of the local authority and confidential. Parents, carers or young people can choose to use a disagreement resolution service. This is something that is voluntary and everyone involved must agree to.
Types of disagreement addressed in disagreement resolution
The disagreement resolution service helps children and young people with SEN resolve the following types of disagreement or prevents them escalating:
- How the early years setting, school, college or local authority is carrying out its education, health and care duties for children and young people with special educational needs.
This can include any of the SEN duties – not just those concerning EHC needs assessments or EHC plans.
- The provision that the early years setting, school, or college is making. This applies to children and young people with any kind of SEND, not just those going through an EHC needs assessment or with an EHC plan.
- The health or social care provision during an EHC needs assessment, while EHC plans are being drawn up or reviewed, while awaiting an appeal or when children or young people are being reassessed.
In these cases the disagreement will be with the local authority or Clinical Commissioning Group, rather than the early years setting, school, or college.
Who to contact about disagreement resolution
To discuss or request independent disagreement resolution please contact Global Mediation on 0800 064 4488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about the service at Global mediation
Sometimes, where disagreements and problems persist, parents of children and young people with SEN might need to consider challenging decisions through a formal procedure by complaining to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SEND Tribunal).