At the end of each mediation, every participant is asked to complete an evaluation form.

The comments below come from the following questions:
What benefits did the mediation process bring?
How useful was the mediation process?
Do you have any other comments on the mediation service or the process that you would like to share?

All participants have said that these comments can be shared.

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, August 2014

A plan of action. Valuable exercise- all parties had good opportunity to raise concerns. Excellent mediation skills- thank you. 
Parental Supporter, August 2014

EHC Plan- agreement to take to Panel. Very useful. 
Parent, August 2014

Resolution to a matter that has been dragging on too long- peace of mind and knowing that the situation is being managed by the LA and all they involved without having to go to tribunal. Very useful and supportive. Friendly professional staff to help with sensitive issue. The mediators were very good. They explained step by step how the day was going to be like and managed to help both the local authority and myself come to an agreement. I think mediation should be made more accessible to the public as it is an informal friendly service that is very helpful to parents in my situation. 
Parent, July 2014

A chance to meet with mum face to face. Very helpful. 
Local Authority Representative, July 2014

To hopefully resolve the issue with me to be assessed. Quite useful. I was able to express how I felt about wanting to be assessed. I do hope that I was listened to because I really want to be assessed. 
Young Person, June 2014

Clarity to issues. Summarising views clearly and non-judgmentally. Very useful and productive. 
Local Authority Representative, June 2014

It helped with the LA's point of view and for us as parents to express our concerns and hopefully they will be taken on board. Very useful; let's hope that it will follow through.
Parent, June 2014

Clarification between two parties as to what the concerns are. Very useful. 
School Representative, May 2014

Unfortunately no resolution was met. I did think it was a worthwhile experience though as it clarified the issues and new thoughts came to light. Very useful- challenging- everyone held accountable. 
School Representative, May 2014

Very useful to meet face to face. 
Local Authority Representative, May 2014

Opportunity to meet with parent and discuss issues confidentially. Very useful. 
Local Authority Representative, May 2014

Expressing views and giving more information about the situation face to face. Very useful. 
Parent, May 2014

Everyone to listen to our concerns and reasons. Very useful
Parent, May 2014

Everyone actually listened to us as our son’s parents. 
Parent, May 2014

It enabled the parents to fully understand the LA's position, in regard to[their son’s education. The parents are prepared to look at alternative schools, which they would not consider previously. The mediator was good, kept to protocols and procedures and time frames. 
Local Authority Representative, May 2014

Good to meet and discuss. It was useful in order to clarify issues. 
Educational Psychologist, March 2014

Clearer understanding of each others point of view and an opening of meaningful dialogue. 
Parent, February 2014

Being given the opportunity to have questions answered by the LA. I found it useful to be able to discuss the issues I have had with the LA. 
Parent, February 2014

Face to face meeting with the local authority. Very useful, progress was made. 
Parental Supporter, February 2014

The KIDS SEN Mediation Service Co-ordinator was absolutely lovely and very professional. Thank you. 
Local Authority Representative, February 2014

A positive outcome. Very useful. 
Parent, January 2014

The mediation process brought resolution and a plan. Delightful! Huge benefit. 
Local Authority Representative, January 2014

The opportunity to solve all the issues risen. Very helpful. 
Family Key Worker, January 2014

It was useful to sit down with someone independent but would have been even more helpful if LA had agreed to it when first asked. It is probably the most productive meeting we have attended- assuming the action is carried through by the LA. 
Parental Supporter, January 2014

Court averted, local authority decided to carry out a statutory assessment. Opened up lines of communication which averted court action and saved loads of bother. Thank you. 
Parent, December 2013

Yes. Whilst no mediation took place, the fact that it was to take place meant a sensible look had to be given to the matter. Very helpful with clear information. 
Parent, December 2013

The mediation process brought clarity of the situation. Very useful. 
Parent, October 2013

Hopefully the parents have understood the school's perspective and we will have an improved partnership in future. 
School Representative, October 2013

The mediation process brought clarity and understanding. The mediation process was very helpful. Excellent; very helpful. 
Local Authority Representative, October 2013

Allowed a consensus to be reached and statutory assessment will be initiated. The mediation process was excellent. Very helpful. 
Parent, October 2013

"Clarity of thinking about the issues involved in the relationship with a parent and family members. Opportunities to discuss points of view. Finding a way forward. [The mediation process was] extremely useful. The whole process from initial contact to the mediation has been very impressive and useful. I feel very valued in my role as Headteacher."
School Representative, July 2013

"Resolved. Very good. Help[ed] me greatly."
Parent, July 2013

"A sense of clearing the air, a resolution and a way to move forward. Facilitated the above as relations had broken down."
School Representative, July 2013

“Calming a situation that was becoming hostile. Meeting the other party face to face, and letting them know we were not being aggressive. A very necessary service.”
Parental supporter, July 2013

“A calming of the dialogue and some progress.”
Parental supporter, July 2013

"[Taking part in mediation meant] no requirement for SEN Tribunal. [The mediation process was] very [useful]"

Parent, June 2013

"A useful opportunity to really understand parental concerns raised. Very useful-mediator was excellent."
Local Authority Representative, June 2013

"It was very useful to be able to discuss the issues in a non-confrontational manner. Very useful in resolving differences.
We were able to finalise the statement and parents withdrew their appeal. [The mediation process was] very useful- settled issues and enabled us to avoid going to tribunal."

Local Authority Representative, June 2013

"For parent to hear all viewpoints-and for everyone to [hear] mum's views. Very [useful]- as it helps to have discussions without formaility i.e. tribunal hearing. Keep it up-valuable."

Parent Partnership Officer, June 2013

"This was an opportunity for all parties to express their concerns and why they made their decision. It provided me with clarification relating to the issues."
Service User, June 2013

"We didn't need to use the Mediation Service. But the team kept in touch and were ready to get involved if required. We were confident that help is there for us."
Parent, June 2013

"I am hopeful the session will enable the working relationship with the family to improve and lead to sound arrangements for [the young person's] care. Potentially very useful. Very well conducted."
Local Authority Representative, June 2013

"Plan in place. [The mediation process was] very [useful]"
Parent, June 2013

"Helpful discussion with [parent]
It was good opportunity to 'open dialogue' with parent and explain LA position in a calming environment."

Local Authority Representative, May 2013

"[The mediation process was] good. Breaking down some barriers. Good to talk in person."

Local Authority Representative, May 2013

"[The mediation process was] very helpful."
Parent, November 2012

"[The mediation process was] very useful."
Parental supporter, November 2012

"[Since the mediation] [my son] has started [at our preferred school] [just over a week after the mediation]. Such a relief to know he is happy. He is now at school within an environment that fits [his] needs. Thought [the mediator] was very good."
Parent, November 2012

"An opportunity to meet a representative from the LA in [a] neutral environment, felt confident that I would be allowed an opportunity to discuss areas of concerns and be listened to."
Parent, October 2012

"It allowed us to come together and discuss the proposed provision for [my son]."
Parent, October 2012

"Gave the opportunity to parents to share their views."
Local Authority Representative, October 2012

"It helped both parties to be at ease, discuss relevant concerns and come to an amicable outcome- created non-theatening environment."
Parental Supporter, October 2012

"Facilitated discussion and exploration of issues."

Local Authority Representative, October 2012

"The more informal atmosphere is preferable and more comfortable for both sides in a dispute."
School Representative, September 2012

"An opportunity to discuss a complex issue with independent mediators which facilitated a resolution. Thank you. From my first conversation with [the mediation service co-ordinator] through to mediation today, the service offered has been highly professional and supportive."
School Representative, September 2012

"The mediation brought an end to our long stressful plight of getting our son the education we feel he needs as now the education authority have agreed [our son] can attend [our preferred school].
We are very satisfied with the mediation.
[Our son is] very pleased to be going to a school where the teachers understand him.
[The mediation process] is very useful as [our son] now attends the right school which meets his needs."

Parent, September 2012

"An opportunity to discuss the issues with all parties concerned with clear outcomes in mind, avoiding unnecessary side tracking. It was a very helpful experience in what had become a difficult situation."
School Representative, September 2012

"Communication. Resolution of issues. [Following mediation the child] is in an independent provision.
I think mediation is better than Tribunal."

Local Authority Representative, September 2012

"My son's statement was reinstated without having to go to Tribunal. It [the mediation process] was fantastic. It's the first time since my son started secondary school that I had the chance to tell his story. I thought [the Head of SEN] and the mediator were amazing!"
Parent, July 2012

"[As a result of the mediation] student is attending school of his choice. Positive relationships [came out of mediation]. [The mediation was] excellent- saved time and negative emotion."
School Representative, June 2012

"Gave all parties opportunity to share views/ concerns in frank manner without necessitating tribunal."
Local Authority Representative, June 2012

"[Since the mediation] pupil has started at parents' preferred school. [The mediation process was] very useful as an opportunity to get issues aired."
Local Authority Representative, June 2012

"The school and local authority decided to offer the place to my son. The outcome was what we wanted and my son is happy."
Parent, June 2012

"Focused discussion. [The mediator] was excellent: focused and professional."

School Representative, June 2012

"Clarification. Clear boundaries. Uninterrupted time for all. All equal. Not them and us."
Parental Supporter, June 2012

"'Them and us' became individual people. It was helpful to hear the other point of view. I appreciate the role played and the service offered by KIDS- thank you."
Parental Supporter, June 2012

"Opportunity to see if there were areas of common ground that could be bult on."

Local Authority Representative, June 2012

"Possible areas of agreement met. Very helpful mediators."
Parental Supporter, May 2012

"I found it reassuring and helpful. Before the mediation I was concerned that I was going to feel intimidated by the professionals, but with the mediator present I felt comfortable and in control.
From start to finish I found the mediation service helpful, understanding. I would recommend the service to parents who feel out of their depths with approaching professionals when an agreement cannot be met, or particular issues need to be discussed and resolved before legal proceedings are actioned e.g. tribunal."

Parent, April 2012

"Clarified issues with all parties involved."
Local Authority Representative, April 2012

"It was helpful to offer this as a means to seek a solution."
Local Authority Representative, April 2012

"Agreement re changes to be made to parts 2 and 3 of statement of SEN. Highlighting and sharing key concerns of both parties."
Local Authority Representative, April 2012

"Good chance to explore issues with calm down options."
School Representative, March 2012

"Very open discussion- opportunity to try and understand the parent views outside a school environment."
School Representative, December 2011

"It helped get everyone to the table to talk. Your mediators were very good."

Parent, December 2011

"It brought all parties around the table to explain each others' views. Your mediators were very tactile, honest and open to the process we needed to go through."
Parent, December 2011

"Greater understanding of the difficulties that have arisen for the parents and [child], along with the problems that both the school and LA faced. Both mediators [were] very helpful and considered the views of all concerned. An excellent if rather lengthy day."
Parent Partnership Officer, December 2011

"The presence of the mediators was helpful, together with their calm and professional approach.
I feel that the mediation process, clarified the situation in an objective way and that the LA was able to demonstrate that many actions had been undertaken and that professionals were attempting to resolve difficulties.

It was helpful, professional and impartial. I felt supported and able to present information and advice."
Local Authority Representative, December 2011

The opportunity for all parties to clarify points in a non-adversarial context. The process was very professional and non-intimidatory. Thank you."

Local Authority Representative, December 2011

"Opportunity to air views in a controlled environment."
School Representative, November 2011

"Very professional mediation. Thank you."
School Representative, November 2011

"Ability to stop things when they got difficult and then continue later."
School Representative, November 2011

"Clear overview of areas to be covered and written agreement with clear specification of issues to be followed up."
Local Authority Representative, October 2011

"Our experience was very positive. We managed to cover the areas of disagreement and worked constructively through the working draft of the statement.
A number of areas of the statement were resolved. Actions were agreed to attempt to resolve others."

Parent, October 2011

"Mediation was the first chance we had with the local authority to speak openly without them brushing our concerns aside, meetings with them before mediation did not work. [As a direct result of mediation] we have reached agreement and application to tribunal has been withdrawn by us.
After mediation we were able to have meetings with the local authority to discuss the implementation of the agreement. The statement now better reflects his [my child's] needs.
We would not have been able to agree the statement without mediation. Now we have agreed the statement we have a better relationship [with the local authority]."
Parent, September 2011

"Clarity around [the child's] needs and the views of both parties. Clarity around next steps. Very useful to have an independent third party."
Local Authority Representative, September 2011

"Brought parents and SEN Dept together in constructive dialogue."
Local Authority Representative, September 2011

"[Having a written agreement] made it easier to monitor/chase people to follow up action. It [mediation] moved [child] from not attending mainstream at all to attending for 2 hours a day but difficulties remain."
Local Authority Representative, September 2011

"It enabled honest discussion to take place and resulted in [child] returning to school."
Local Authority Representative, September 2011


"Opportunity to discuss issues.Compromises available.
[Since the mediation] [the child] has started to attend an alternative placement on an assessment basis.
Clear opportunity to discuss issues with parents."

School Representative, August 2011

"The mediation process was led by someone who is professional, impartial, calm and responsive to the needs and views of both parties. I was very impressed."
Local Authority Representative, July 2011

"Opportunity for updating information and dialogue. Very well organised."
School Representative, July 2011

"Expectations clarified for all parties and a route to a solution identified."
School Representative, July 2011

"Brought both parties together in discussion. The mediator brought balance and picked up on matters that might otherwise have slipped through the net."
Parent, July 2011

"The opportunity for all parties to speak without being talked over. Clarity through recap."
School Representative, July 2011

"Without the mediation- we would have had to have gone to Tribunal as we had come to a brick wall with [the local authority].
[The local authority] agreed to issue a statement of special educational needs [following mediation]. Having changed the note in lieu to a statement, [my child] is now attending the school which suits his needs.
Extremely happy with the service and the mediators were very experienced and beneficial."

Parent, July 2011

"Open talk between all parties."
School Representative, July 2011

"The ability for everyone to talk openly / share information."
Parent Partnership Officer, June 2011

"Clarity, agreement and ways forward."
School Representative, June 2011

"Open discussion with parent- opportunity to explore concerns."
Local Authority Representative, May 2011

"It provided a neutral controlled environment and helped all participants to remain focused on issues raised.
[The agreement] detailed what each person was going to do and when. It helped to talk everything through with the use of a mediator to stay on subject and direct the meeting."

Parent, May 2011

"The opportunity to clarify points."
Local Authority Representative, March 2011

"Improved communication between parties."
Local Authority Representative, January 2011

"A clear plan of how to move forward."
School Representative, January 2011

"We were able to put all our points across and get answers to numerous questions we had. Very useful- was able to speak to representatives from Council face to face and also have independent party on hand."
Parent, December 2010

"I feel [parents] gained some trust in the Local Authority. Very helpful- parents withdrew their appeal and agreed to work with LA."
Local Authority Representative, December 2010

"It enabled me to speak with the SEN Team at [name omitted] Council in person to get answers to many questions and make agreements about the way forward for [my child]. Very useful process."
Parent, December 2010

"Enabled a clear understanding of the issues and the reasons decisions were made."
Local Authority Representative, December 2010

"Issues for parents were clarified and also services by the LA clarified."
Local Authority Representative, December 2010

"Helpful clarity on an agreed way forward whilst acknowledging other issues where there was agreement to disagree. Very helpful process and the mediator was very fair and balanced in facilitating the process [...]. My first experience as part of the mediation service facilitated by KIDS and would recommend this service to others."
Local Authority Representative, December 2010

"Opportunity for issues to be discussed and areas of agreement/ disagreement explored. "
Local Authority Representative, October 2010

"Better relationship between LA and parent."
Local Authority Representative, August 2010

"[Mediation brought a] clear understanding of the Assessment process and way to express my views."
Parent, August 2010

"Allowed parties to recognize their impact from the other's perspective; look for common ground. A talking/listening forum can bring neutral options to weighted issues."
Local Authority Representative, July 2010

"It enabled all parties to identify areas of their own responsibility that could have been met better. It helped me understand that more information was still needed."
Parent, July 2010

"The agreement was very clear and to the point. The mediation helped pin point areas of poor communication and clarify [the child]'s needs more clearly and highlighted the need for constant follow up (in regards to external agencies involvement). I was very pleased with the process and outcome."
School Representative, July 2010

"Both mediators were excellent [...] bringing out communication, taking the process forward, creating the right atmosphere etc."
School Representative, June 2010

"It gave all parties a chance to explain their reasons for their individual judgements regarding placement."
School Representative, June 2010

"The meeting was structured- the issues were clearly defined. Agreement was reached following each issue, as opposed to the end of the discussion. I was very happy with this session."
Local Authority Representative, May 2010

"Having attended Tribunal meetings before I was pleased how helpful, 'informal' the mediation was. It was therefore very useful and stress free."
School Representative, April 2010

"Opportunity to understand each other's position."
Parent, April 2010

"Agreement reached between LA/parents- as a result parents were able to withdraw their appeal to Tribunal. [Mediation] helped parents feel confident they were listened to. Very useful."
Local Authority Representative, April 2010

"Time to go over all the issues with regard to the case. To discuss the child's needs from all angles. To listen to each other and examine areas for possible future work.
Very useful approach."

School Representative, March 2010

"Impartial observer chaired proceedings – this had a very positive impact on the behaviour of all parties. Also, solution focused.
This is an excellent service- thoroughly professional."
Parent, February 2010

"It gave the opportunity to discuss and progress a wider range of issues than another format.
This is a valuable service."
Parent, February 2010

"The opportunity to listen to all points of view, reflect upon these and move forward with guidance from the mediator.
The process was well structured and opportunity was provided to reach a resolution in a fair and calm way."
School Representative, February 2010

"A forum in which parents and school can speak together- in an open way. To hopefully develop relationship built on trust.
The process was very helpful and clear- and managed in a calm way."

School Representative, February 2010

"Mediation just allowed us to sit and talk without any bad feelings getting in the way. Allowed [name omitted] Council to hear our views better in person than in writing which we had done many times but they had ignored."
Parent, January 2010

"It opened the dialogue between both parties."
School Representative, December 2009

"The opportunity to allow parents and LA to clarify each others' point of view."
Local Authority Representative, November 2009

"As school representative (Inclusion leader) I found it [the mediation] very reassuring. I particularly liked the way the mediator 'chaired' the proceedings. There were no raised voices, no unpleasantness and a sensible timeframe to the discussion."
School Representative, September 2009

"Following the mediation a decision was made that benefited the child in question. [The mediation] resulted in the desired outcome so was very useful."
School Representative, September 2009

"It allowed me to find out exactly what the school was/ wasn't providing for the pupil in question."
Local Authority Representative, September 2009

"It provided a secure opportunity for all parties to share views."

Local Authority Representative, September 2009

"[We achieved] a quick solution. I didn't expect that anything would be achieved, but was pleasantly surprised by the speedy outcome."
Parent, September 2009

"[Since the mediation] the pupil [has been] placed in provision/ school. [The mediation] enabled discussion and sharing of information. [It was] very useful."

Local Authority Representative, September 2009

"Enabled discussion by those with greatest involvement and knowledge.
[Since the mediation] the statement has been issued, including items agreed in mediation meeting."

Parent, February 2009

"The mediator was able to express both sides of the argument clearly, impartially and concisely. More beneficial for a dispute to go to mediation where things can be discussed than the matter going straight to a tribunal court."
School Representative, February 2009

"Excellent chance to work through all issues without getting stuck on disputed points."

Parent, January 2009

"Myself and my husband are very happy with the approach taken by the mediator. Every point [in the written agreement] was important. Having the right people present and especially the mediator. The LEA [local education authority] have agreed to assess our child."
Parent, January 2009

"[Our daughter now] has 2 nights residential at school each week. She was quickly able to access residential, tribunal would not have taken place yet. She is very happy and clearly benefiting from the arrangement. [Mediation] was very useful. We felt we were properly listened to by the LEA [local education authority] - not judged on paper information. [The agreement] stated clearly the resolution arrived at. Transition to adult services is now under way."
Parent, December 2008

"[Mediation was] very helpful- able to engage parents in facilitated discussion."

Local Authority Representative, December 2008

"It enabled the parent to have a very clear picture of the support his son is getting. It showed that home and school have a good working relationship."
Parent Partnership Officer, October 2008

"We explored other ways to support my son with the school. We were able to mediate in a calm, effective manner. [Since the mediation] my child has been happier in school. The mediation service was brilliant."
Parent, September 2008

"We were able to talk face to face in a calm, controlled manner. Able to discuss other issues than those first brought up and reach agreement on those as well. Without this process we would not have been able to come to a resolution."
Parent Partnership Officer, September 2008

"For the first time we came face to face with people we've only heard about or spoken to on the phone. It humanised the process and gave contact with a 'faceless' bureaucracy. Wish I had contacted you sooner!"
Parent, August 2008

"An excellent service."
Local Authority Representative, August 2008

"Provided the council deliver on the commitments made, it will have achieved progress previous meetings have failed to do.
I would like to thank [the mediator] for her kindness and for helping to alleviate what has been a very stressful and difficult process."

Parent, July 2008

"I think just involving the service made things happen more quickly."
Parent, June 2008

"Very professional service."
Local Authority Representativer, September 2007

"The Mediator was thorough and effective and very pleasant. Also very professional."
Parent, September 2007

"It allowed fruitful discussion with parent."
Local Authority Representative September 2007

"Gained a clearer understanding of views of school and parent."
Local Authority Representative, September 2007

"The parents withdrew their appeal to SENDIST. The most I was hoping for was better understanding of each party's point of view."
Local Authority Representative, July 2007

"The LEA [local education authority] should offer this service much quicker than they did in this case and it should be used as much as possible. Would DEFINITELY recommend."
Parent, June 2007

"I think, though I can't be totally sure, it speeded up decisions and therefore the best outcome. Everyone was really helpful and listened and got back to me. I deal with lots of different agencies and this service was by far the most helpful and efficient."
Parent, June 2007

"I wasn't quite sure who to talk to and they gave me that help and put me onto who I needed to talk to."
Parent, June 2007

"I now feel I have a much fuller picture of the child's needs."
Local Authority Representative, April 2007

"Allowed communication with a difficult and angry parent in a safe and neutral environment."
School Representative, September 2006

"Professional, calm, gave both sides of the argument. Would definitely recommend. Very professional approach to conflict resolution."
School Representative, June 2006

"It is useful that it is less formal than a more legal procedure."
School Representative, March 2005

"By talking to the parents in an informal, but structured situation participants were able to express themselves clearly and issues were able to be understood by all. This led to a resolution. This was my first experience of the service and I was impressed by the professionalism and expertise of the mediator in drawing out the core of the 'dispute' and supporting the process to resolution."
Local Authority Representative, October 2005

"It gave the opportunity to explain the reasons for making the Statutory Assessment request. A very professional service as usual."
Local Authority Representative, July 2005

"It is a very useful opportunity for discussing possibilities and trying to resolve difficulties, it's very good to have the mediator there to ensure fairness."
Parent, November 2005

"The case was better understood. Additional information came to light. I think it is an excellent service and should be extended to cover other areas."
Local Authority Representative, November 2005

"The lessening of tension within all parties. Spending a quantity of time with LEA [local education authority] staff and parents which you would not normally have. An excellent service- extremely efficient, professional yet keeping the human touch."
School Representative, May 2005

"The way we were able to communicate and resolve some of the issues. Very beneficial to be able to meet face to face with the people who are making decisions on our child's education. Very happy with the whole mediation procedure."
Parent, May 2005

"The whole session was very professional and felt very safe; I had felt a lot of anxiety and concern about the process before it and at the beginning. Felt listened to and affirmed. Excellent service; very good staff."
Parent, November 2004

"It was useful to be in a meeting chaired by someone else."
Local Authority Representative, July 2004

"The relationship between parent and school has been somewhat rebuilt."
School Representative, June 2004

"I hadn't taken part in this process before and was very impressed with the way it was run, explained and how professional the whole process was."
Local Authority Representative, August 2004

"The other party remained calm during the mediation- which has not happened in other meetings we have held."
School Representative, November 2004

"The process ensured that all parties remained calm so that meaningful dialogue was facilitated."
School Representative, November 2004

"I think that it kept the conversation and "emotional temperature" at a level which has kept communication channels open."
Local Authority Representative, June 2004

"I was very pleased with the mediator; she didn't take sides with both parties."
Parent, November 2004

"It allowed differences between parents and school to be aired and I believe the relationship has improved as a result. The mediator handled the meeting very well- remained calm, wasn't dispirited even when things were apparently going quite badly."
Local Authority Representative, November 2004

"The process gave the benefit of a fairy un-emotional meeting, resulting in an agreed plan of action. I thought the mediation service offered immense support. It allowed the two "groups" to discuss the main issues of the disagreement in a structured manner. I don't believe we would have reached an amicable future plan without it!"
Parent, September 2004

"I think it helped to foster a better LEA [local education authority] /parent working relationship".
Local Authority Representative, June 2004

"It gave good opportunity to discuss more fully the problem areas of my child's education and I successfully gained some movement from the LEA [local education authority]. I may now be able to cancel tribunal."
Parent, February 2004

"We achieved a resolution which we hope will benefit everyone all round."
Parent, October 2003

"By skillful non-threatening handling, solutions were reached unexpectedly."
School Representative, January 2003

"It helped to meet everyone and have the opportunity to share and listen to each other's views in a 'safe' environment."
School Representative, January 2003

"I had been quite cynical- mainly because I do a lot of negotiating/problem solving. However, it was helpful to think about issues without the pressure of managing a meeting/recording."
Local Authority Representative, August 2003

"It was good to cut through all 'red tape'/ bureaucracy that hinders clear and effective communication. Talking matters through face to face was essential. The experience was physically draining but ultimately rewarding. Hopefully all parties can now move forward - after all we all want the same end result- the best possible provision and support for the child- my son."
Parent, August 2003

"Allowed everyone to be open and honest and really explore issues. Did not feel like a battle, which previous encounters had felt like. Very good mediator and good at drawing people together to common ground."
School Representative, June 2003

"It helped to uncover some misunderstandings that we had regarding the workings of the various bodies involved. A very good service to use."
Parent, June 2003

"Felt I had a fuller picture of the child and the difficulties she is experiencing. Can be more prepared as a school for the pupil when she comes in September."
School Representative, June 2003

"Clarified issues that had been frustrating both parties. Also gave idea of the criteria being used to make decisions, by other party. Very helpful and supportive and will help us make decisions in the best interest of the child."
Social Worker, June 2003

"It was useful to meet with the parent in a neutral place (i.e. away from the Town Hall) and to hear first hand in more detail about his concerns. It was also useful to put the LEA's [local education authority] position without interruption.
The atmosphere was friendly, not threatening."

Local Authority Representativer, July 2002

"I feel that a very anxious mother was more willing to listen because of the impartial mediator, who was calm, pleasant and in control! I was quite surprised at the outcome as I felt the mum had come with very definite views of what she wanted. This is the first mediation session I have attended and I felt that it was very professionally run."
Local Authority Representative, July 2002

"Despite the obvious friction between the two sides at the beginning of the meeting and the allegations made during it, the outcome brought both parties together to a point where an agreement could be made in the future.
Very professional and experienced mediator who allowed the meeting to progress allowing all parties ample opportunity to put forward their points of view without interruption."

Parent Supporter, December 2002

"The process was beneficial as it was informal and the mediator did not take sides. She made me feel at ease. The most important aspect was control. We were able to have our say in a relaxed atmosphere."
Local Authority Representative, July 2002

"An opportunity to work positively with the pupil's parents. This was an opportunity to extend communications and reduce conflict. This process is allowing parent, schools and the LEA [local education authority] to work more effectively together for the benefit of pupils."
Local Authority Representative, July 2002

"It gave me a greater understanding of my particular situation which in turn brought about a positive conclusion.
An extremely well presented service which brought my case to a good conclusion. It is very beneficial to be able to speak face to face and to resolve differences."
Parent, May 2002

"The ability to bring people together on an equal basis in a neutral place. Having a neutral 'chair' allowed for honest and open discussion. I believe this to be an excellent service. This avoided an SEN Tribunal which has, in my experience, always resulted in bad feeling on someone's part. Today everyone felt they were heard and what they had to say was valid. For parents in particular they didn’t seem to be fighting officialdom."
School Representative, April 2002

"This was my first experience of attending a mediation meeting. I think that it was very professionally managed and far more useful than the process of tribunal."
Educational Psychologist, October 2002

"It’s a very useful service. In this instance I am sure it prevented the case escalating to tribunal."
Local Authority Representative, July 2002

"I feel as if it is less "them against us.""
Parent, June 2002

"It was a relaxed session; I felt that everyone had the chance to voice their concerns. The mediator was very focused and allowed the meeting to stay on track."
School Representative, May 2002

"I feel that the mediation process was well organised and as informal as possible. It allowed both parties to explain their situations and thoughts on the matter in a relaxed atmosphere. I feel that this has been a positive step forward to take as it has encouraged a good working relationship between parent and LEA [local education authority] which can only be a good thing for the welfare and education of the child concerned."
Local Authority Representative, July 2002

"Enhanced relationship with parents."
Local Authority Representative, November 2002

"Gave me the chance to learn how decisions are being made and to meet in person with the decision makers. It gave us both the chance to look beyond the paperwork and get an insight into the actual problems. It personalised again the depersonalised process and put it on a real life level."
Parent, November 2002

"Provided opportunity to share perspectives, make agreements that could be reviewed regularly. Gave opportunities to share concepts and explore issues."
Local Authority Representative, November 2002

"Opportunity to put across my son's case fully and to talk openly and frankly about his problems. Pleased that I took part and very grateful to the service for arranging and conducting the session."
Parent, May 2002