KIDS SEND Mediation Service is an independent mediation and disagreement resolution service, which is free of charge for parents/carers and young people. Our service helps to settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities and schools or other education providers. These disputes are often about the special educational needs and disability (SEND) of children and young people, and how best to meet their needs.

The provision of mediation and disagreement resolution is a statutory requirement for local authorities. It offers an alternative to a Tribunal hearing and is quicker and less formal. Mediation enables people to communicate better with each other, and it can help re-build relationships that have broken down. Local authorities mostly base their decisions on written information provided to them by parents, the child or young person, the education provider and other agencies. They do not always have the opportunity to meet the child. A face-to-face mediation meeting helps “bring the child / young person out of the file”.

If you are not happy with the outcome of mediation, you can still make an appeal to the Tribunal.

Whilst the new legislation covers children and young people who are going through the Education, Health and Care (EHC) process, you can also make a referral to our services if your child still has a Statement of Special Educational needs and you are in disagreement with the LA about the Statement. Please contact us so we can explain the next steps.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal, confidential and voluntary process which involves an independent facilitator (the mediator) helping those in dispute to reach agreements that are acceptable to all parties.

Under the new legislation, going to mediation is voluntary for the parents and young person, but the local authority has to attend. Our mediators do not take sides or decide the solutions to the dispute. It is the parties themselves that find solutions and decide the outcome.

Mediators manage the meeting, and make sure everyone is fully heard and treated fairly. Our mediators ensure that the focus of the meeting stays on the needs of the child or young person.

Disagreement Resolution

A parent or young person can ask for disagreement resolution at any time during the SEND process. The dispute can be about Education, Health or Social Care provision. . Access to disagreement resolution covers all children and young people with SEND - whether or not they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).Disagreement Resolution meetings are conducted in the same way as mediation meetings and managed by one of our experienced SEND mediators.

Disagreement Resolution is voluntary for all parties. When you have made a referral to out service we contact the other party (or parties) to ask whether they are willing to take part.


Mediation Information and Advice Service:

Under the new legislation most parents, carers or young people appealing to the SEND Tribunal have to have a certificate to show that they have received information about Mediation.


It is important that you contact us no later than 2 months from the local authority decision letter. This is the letter where the LA tell you for example that they will not assess your child for Education, Health and Care Needs.

You do not have to go to Mediation, just receive the information. This will give you a clear idea of the difference between the Mediation and Tribunal. When you contact us, we will tell you whether you need the MIAS or not. If you need it, we arrange it on a day and time that suits you. The MIAS is normally done on the telephone and takes about 20 minutes. The Advice session gives general information about Mediation, and you can ask any questions you may have.

All the advisers at KIDS are mediation trained or are SEN Mediators. If you decide to go to Tribunal, we issue the certificate within 3 working days. Download our leaflet explaining MIAS in more detail here

Children with Statements of Special Educational Needs.

If your dispute is regarding a statement rather than an Education, health and Care plan you do not have to have a certificate before appealing to the SEND tribunal.

How do I arrange mediation or disagreement resolution?

When you have decided to go to mediation or disagreement resolution, you can refer to us directly by phone, email or letter. We will then contact you to take your referral at a time that suits you.Once your referral is on our system, we inform the local authority (or other party) that you have requested mediation or disagreement resolution, and your case is allocated to a mediator or a case worker.

Most mediation meetings are arranged within 33 days of you telling us that you want to go ahead with mediation.Mediation is voluntary for parents / carers and young people. That means that you can withdraw at any time and you can ask us to issue the certificate and make an appeal to the Tribunal.


What happens next?

 The mediator or case worker will contact you and introduce themselves. They will ask you about the disagreement and will answer any questions you may have about preparing for mediation and the meeting itself.

The mediator or case worker will help you and the other parties prepare for the mediation by writing a case summary. They will also do that with the other party and the summaries are exchanged before the meeting whenever possible. This ensures that everybody is prepared and knows what needs to be discussed and agreed.

The mediator or caseworker will ask you who you think should be at the meeting, and when and where it should take place. We make sure that the meeting venue is nearby and as convenient for you as possible. (It could for example be your child’s school.)

Our staff will keep you informed about progress throughout preparation for the meeting.

What can I expect at a Mediation Session?

Mediation is about understanding the issues of the disagreement and trying to solve them. It brings together the people who know the child or young person. It is not about “who is right and who is wrong” and looks at the present and the future rather than the past. It is different to the Tribunal, where a panel hear the parties’ evidence and then make a ruling.

One of our independent SEND mediators manages the mediation meeting, which usually lasts between 2 and 4 hours. The mediator makes sure everyone at the meeting can have their say and are listened to. Our mediators are impartial and they do not take sides or impose decisions.

Usually people reach an agreement, which is put in writing with the help of the mediator. The Agreement has to be acceptable to all parties and a copy given to everyone. Following mediation, we issue a certificate within 3 working days. This means that if you decide you want to go to Tribunal, you have 30 days to make your appeal.

An a example of a mediation

 14-year old Matthew has severe dyslexia and dyspraxia. He finds it very difficult to process information. He does well in school when he has a scribe but the school cannot provide full-time scribe support. Matthew is getting increasingly distressed about the situation: he has lost confidence and is often reluctant to go to school saying he feels sick. His attendance has dropped.

 When he gets home from school he has “melt downs”. His parents have requested that the LA undertake an assessment for Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs. Based on the evidence provided by school, Matthews’s academic achievements and the hours of support he has at present, the LA decided that Matthew did not meet their criteria and turned down the request for an EHC assessment. Matthew’s parents are very disappointed and have requested mediation.

At the mediation meeting, Matthew’s “Child’s View” form is distributed. This  clearly shows how worried and frustrated he is.

The school has an opportunity to explain in detail what interventions they have put in place and the results of these interventions. For example, they explain that a laptop instead of a scribe does not work for Matthew as it does not help him with processing information.

The parents describe what happens at home after school and how difficult it is to get Matthew to school in the morning.

The LA representative explains in detail how and why they have reached their decision.

Everybody agrees that they want Matthew to attend school full-time.

In discussions with school about the support Matthew gets at present, it emerges that the school has under-recorded the hours of support. As this is one of the key factors in the LA decision, and based on all the additional information received at the meeting, the LA officer decides to overturn the original decision and to undertake the assessment. 

What do people who have experienced mediation say about it?

 Schools / Colleges:

 “There was clarity of discussion and issues, and a way forward agreed by all. Mediation was very useful in identifying process elements and understanding everyone's roles.”

 “All parties points discussed and shared on an even and fair platform”

 “Everybody allowed to share their views fairly with no blame/confrontation.”

 Parents / carers / young people:

 “Everybody was allowed to share their views fairly with no blame or confrontation”

 “We got solutions!”

 “LA overturned decision. Mediation gave an opportunity to get LA and school together in the same room to ensure correct paperwork was submitted. Thank you!”

SENDIASS (Parent Partnership) / other support organisations:

 “Mediation enabled a clear pathway for the child to be found. A very useful process. I like the way that it is child centred.”

 “The mediation highlighted the child’s actual needs in addition to what was in written reports. This was very important.”

Local Authority officer:

 “Very thorough approach with lots of clarity. Fair and balanced, leading to mutual understanding of the same situation”.

 “Despite taking the best part of 4 hours I thought it was an excellent and time efficient process by comparison to a lengthy tribunal.”

 “It enabled the authority to obtain the information required from school to be able to agree statutory assessment.”

 “I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was having (Name) as the mediator today. His calm and reassuring  manner showed experience and kindness to all there,  and allowed a very stressed / distressed parent to feel unrushed and valued."

"It also allowed professionals that have often been at loggerheads to feel they had a valuable contribution, and it all felt like a team supporting this parent and her family/ son in a holistic way. As an impartial service l thought without doubt that the best outcome came from today and (the mediator) managed to get everyone working around the table to work and plan together collaboratively. I would not usually write such an email, but this this is well deserved."

Are you aged 16-25 and want Mediation?

If you are a young person over compulsory school age, you have the right to make requests and decisions about mediation or disagreement resolution yourself, rather than your parents/carers.  You can be supported by an advocate or other supporter of your choice. It is important that you are enabled to participate fully in decisions about your education, health, care and the future you want in adult life. Download our easy read leaflet here

Our Team

KIDS SEND Mediation Service has a panel of independent, experienced and specially trained mediators. Our mediators have a wide variety of professional backgrounds, are fully accredited and regularly briefed on special educational needs legislation and practice.

They are supported by our experienced managers, service co-ordinators and caseworkers.

FAQ and further help

Information for Local authorities

Are you interested in commissioning KIDS? We can tailor our service to meet your needs and also have a range of training packages available. Please contact your local service below to find out more.

Our Mediation services:

  1. London Mediation
  2. Regional Mediation