SEN Mediation is a statutory service to help parents or young people resolve disagreements about Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments and plans. Parents and young people can use mediation before deciding whether to appeal to the SEND Tribunal about decisions of an assessment or the SEN element of an EHC plan. The new mediation arrangements apply specifically to parents and young people who are considering appealing to the Tribunal about EHC needs assessments and the special educational element of an EHC plan or who want mediation on the health and social care elements of an EHC plan. 

KIDS provides this statutory service on behalf of Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council as an independent organisation. 

We are registered as a mediation provider organisation by the Civil Mediation Council.

How does mediation work?

"The mediation session enabled the parties to move forward and to come to an agreement. The mediation process was first class. It was my first time attending a mediation meeting and would recommend mediation to anyone involved in a dispute"
Connexions Advisor. 
Mediation is an informal, voluntary process which involves an independent facilitator (the mediator) helping those in dispute to reach agreements that are acceptable to all parties. The mediator is impartial, does not take sides, nor put forward suggestions or possible solutions to the dispute. The mediator is there to help to facilitate discussions and to make sure everyone is treated fairly. The mediator is in control of the process but not of the outcome of the mediation.

It is the parties themselves that find solutions and decide the outcome through participating in the mediation process.  

Using mediation does not affect your right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal. For more information about the SEND Tribunal, please visit their website here.

Mediation is voluntary and if a parent/carer or young person does not wish to take part in mediation we will issue a certificate explaining this. The certificate will enable the parent/carer or young person to register their appeal with the Tribunal Service

The process

When you first contact us we will listen to you to establish the reason for your call and your understanding of SEN Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Services and seek to understand what your disagreement is about. We will outline the mediation process and the next steps and ask about preferred ways of communication and whether reasonable adjustments are needed. We will check that you have understood what is available and how it may help you. Where appropriate we will also signpost to other agencies for information and support, should you need it.   

An experienced SEN mediator will explain the nature and purpose of mediation and answer questions in an impartial and professional manner so that people can make a decision that is right for you. 

Should you not wish to go to mediation, we explain the next steps and provide you with the certificate (within 3 working days). 

If you wish to take some time to consider the options, we will support this, and we will be happy to respond to any further questions but will ensure that you are fully aware of the time scales in which you have to make your decision.

If there is a desire to proceed with mediation, our Mediation Service has over 13 years experience of mediating joint meetings and helping those in dispute to reach agreements that are acceptable to all parties. You will be introduced to one of our independent mediators who will become your dedicated mediator. Our mediators are accredited and highly skilled experts with significant experience in SEN legislation and mediation practice.

The mediator will contact all parties to fully understand each side of the disagreement and help each party to set out the issues they wish to discuss at the mediation meeting. If it is the parent(s)/carer(s) proceeding with the process, we also ascertain the voice of the child wherever possible. 

Liaising with all parties we arrange a date and neutral venue for the mediation meeting. Each parties’ summaries are exchanged in advance to reduce anxiety and, through helping participants prepare for the meeting, increase their confidence. At the meeting the mediator will go through the process and ensure that everybody is clear about the meeting (confidentiality, respectful behaviour, willingness to hear what others have to say) and we will remind everybody that they are impartial, and will not put forward suggestions nor possible solutions to the dispute. 

The mediator will facilitate discussions and to make sure everyone is treated fairly. The mediator is in control of the process but not of the outcome of the mediation. It is for the parties to find solutions and decide the outcome through participating in the mediation process. 

At the conclusion of the meeting a SMART agreement is written jointly in the participants' own words and a copy given to each party to ensure that there is no ambiguity about what has been decided.

Who is the service for?

Parents/carers who have a disagreement about the Education, Health and Care needs assessment and/or plan of their child.

Young people (aged 16 to 25) who have a disagreement about their own Education, Health and Care needs assessment and/or plan.

Local authorities and schools to resolve disagreements with parents or young people over Education, Health and Care needs assessments and/or plans.

For families who have a disagreement about their child's Statement or who are on School Action or School Action Plus, then you will need to contact Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council for details of the SEN Disagreement Resolution Service provider. 

How to access the service

Accessing our service is easy. Parents or a young person can refer themselves directly.

If you have a query about the referral process simply phone or email us:

Phone: 03330 062 835

Please note that Local Authority Officers, IASS Officers or any other third parties must have permission from the parents or young person before passing their details to the KIDS SEN Mediation Service.

How much does it cost?This service is available free of charge for residents of Trafford local authority. 

When is this service available?Our SEN Mediation Service is available Mondays to Fridays from 9:00am to 6:00pm

How to contact us

Susanna Diegel on 03330 062 835

KIDS, National SEN Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Service, 249 Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B72 1EA 

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