Mediation for families

Welcome to Kids award-winning Special Educational Needs and Disability Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Service.

We help families resolve disputes with the local authority or health service.

What is SEND Mediation ?

Mediation is an informal, confidential and voluntary process which involves an independent facilitator (the mediator) helping those in dispute to reach agreements. It is free of charge for families. Mediation can be arranged quickly and is less formal than a Tribunal hearing. Mediation meetings are arranged locally, so that you do not have to travel far. We help you prepare for the meeting.

Mediation is for the following local authority decisions:

  • The LA decides not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • The LA decides not to draw up an EHC plan
  • You disagree about the contents of a final EHC plan or an amended plan
  • The LA decides not to amend an EHC plan
  • The LA decides to cease to maintain an EHC plan
  • You are not satisfied with the health or social care contents of a final EHC plan.

How it works

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 with the mediator’s help.

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. Once agreements have been reached, the mediator puts them in writing and everybody signs the agreement and gets a copy. Our agreements are very specific with all the details agreed, so that they can be easily adhered to.

Mediation enables people to communicate well with each other, and it can help re-build relationships that have broken down. This is important if you need to work with the school or local authority for many years.

All about mediation

An in-depth look at mediation from a Kids mediator.

What is Disagreement Resolution (DR)?

A parent or young person can ask for Disagreement Resolution (DR) at any time during the SEND process, even when you have already lodged a tribunal appeal. 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).

However, the other party or parties involved in the disagreement have to agree to take part before it can take place. Otherwise DR works in exactly the same way as Mediation.

DR is for these types of disputes:

  • How Local Authorities or education providers (early years, schools, colleges) carry out their education, health and care duties for children or young people with SEND.
  • Disputes about the SEND provision made by education providers.
  • Disputes about health and social care provision during all the stages of the EHC plan process.
  • Resolving school exclusions involving children or young people with SEND.

“Kids SEND Mediation service made such a difference to us. With their professional support we reached agreement with the local authority regarding our son’s case. We wouldn’t have reached this agreement without Kids mediation services.”

Parent supported by the service

What is the Mediation Information and Advice Service?

Most parents, carers or young people who want to request Mediation or make a Tribunal appeal must have received the information given through the Mediation Information and Advice Service (or MIAS for short). If you decide to make a tribunal appeal after MIAS, we provide you with the Mediation Certificate that you need for the appeal.

You do not have to go to Mediation, just receive the MIAS.

MIAS helps you gain a clear idea of what mediation is and how it works. This information is usually provided over the telephone and takes about 20 minutes. You can ask as many questions as you need to make a decision on whether to go to Mediation or Tribunal. All MIAS advisers at Kids are very experienced and are SEND mediation trained or are SEND Mediators.

It is important that you contact us no later than two 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 or the date on the final EHC plan.

Useful documents and links

Mediation leaflet

Download our Kids SEND Mediation leaflet to print out or just to keep handy.

More information

Our mediation information page has lots of useful documents and links to other helpful services.