Sometimes children and young people with SEND have questions, problems or complaints about their education and training. Everyone involved hopes to resolve these through discussion between the relevant parties, or informal independent mediation processes, or independent disagreement resolution.
Education providers have their own compliment and complaints procedures, as do Somerset County Council and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group for their services. Schools are managed by the headteacher and governors, and any concerns must be raised with the school in the first instance.
If your concern cannot be resolved by talking with the school, then mediation can help.
Mediation is a voluntary process which parents and young people can use if agreement cannot be reached about EHC plans. It helps people communicate with each other better, and it can help re-build relationships that have broken down because of a disagreement.
Mediation is free and confidential, and there is more about it in our ‘Discussing things‘ section.
Disagreement resolution services
Parents, carers or young people can choose to use a disagreement resolution service. This is voluntary and everyone involved must agree to it.
Disagreement resolution services are free, confidential and independent of the local authority.
The 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 around 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, or while waiting for 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 mediation or disagreement resolution
For more information, please see our page ‘Tribunals – single route of redress‘.