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A Parent's Guide to Mediation

You may have had a letter from the Local Authority informing you of a decision that they have made in relation to an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) and advising you to contact a mediation adviser if you disagree with their decision.

You can either:

  • Request mediation. This will not affect your right to appeal to tribunal later, but normally leads to a quicker resolution.
  • Request a mediation advice certificate and go straight to tribunal without attempting mediation.
  • In certain circumstances local or independent disagreement processes may be more suitable

In all cases, the first step in resolving your dispute is our free advice and information service. There is no charge for using our mediation service.

Our friendly team of mediation advisors will take the time to listen to your situation and provide you with the information you need to decide what you want to do next. We will give you plenty of opportunity to ask any questions. We will advise you of any local disagreement resolution processes on offer, and explain to you what will happen if you decide to mediate. We provide independent and impartial mediation and disagreement resolution services to help resolve your dispute with the local authority.

What you decide to do next is your choice.

What options are available?


If you decide to mediate, one of our mediators will contact you within 24 hours to arrange a call. They will guide you through the process, ensuring they understand your situation and needs. We will set up the mediation with the LA on your behalf. The mediator ensures that everyone has a chance to speak and to be understood. Mediators do not tell anyone what to do, but ensure that the child's or young person's needs are the focus of the conversation, so that a well-informed decision can be made. After the meeting you will receive a formal record of all actions that have been agreed, together with a mediation advice certificate. This means that you can still go to tribunal if you are not happy with the outcome of the mediation.

For more information about how we carry out mediation, please click here

Disagreement Resolution

You may have concerns about the support for your, or your child's, special educational needs or disability, but do not have a formal right of appeal. Your concerns may involve education, health, or social care, and relate to the kind of provision being made, or the way it is being carried out. In these circumstances you can request disagreement resolution, which is a similar process to mediation. The main difference is that the other parties have to agree to take part and may decide not to. We would make this request on your behalf and give you information about other options available if your request was refused.

Online Service

Since the original coronavirus lockdown, it has become apparent that there are considerable advantages to online mediations, which have resulted in this becoming our usual method. However, in exceptional circumstances we can arrange mediations in person, if needed.

SEND Mediation

  • Is free for parents - paid for by the Local Authority.
  • Offers the opportunity for a detailed conversation with a senior LA Officer, who has the authority to make important decisions regarding your case.
  • Retains your right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal.
  • Is much quicker than going to tribunal.
  • Your mediator will guide you through the process and ensure that you are supported during the meeting.