Should I opt for Mediation?
When the LA issues a decision as part of the statutory process, parents or the young person have the right to appeal to SENDIST.
The decision letter from your LA will give details of a mediation adviser who you must contact if you wish to appeal, unless your appeal is only in respect of the school named in section I of the EHC Plan.
Mediation is the opportunity to try and resolve issues that you may have with the LA, rather than submitting an appeal.
- The mediation adviser will give you information about mediation to enable you to decide whether you want to try this. If you say no, they will issue a mediation certificate within three days: it will not be held against you if you refuse to mediate.
- If you do want to mediate, a meeting must be arranged within 30 days (but need not take place within 30 days). You can opt for mediation on health and social care issues as well as education. The meeting will take place in a neutral venue, and the mediator’s role is simply to try to facilitate agreement about the matters in issue. Anything said during the meeting is confidential. If you reach agreement, this should be recorded in writing and the agreement is legally binding.
- If you do not reach final agreement, the mediator must issue a mediation certificate and you have 30 days from then to issue an appeal. You must lodge a certificate with your appeal, unless you are appealing only against the school place named in an EHCP (which is inadvisable).
Ideally, in order to reach agreement, you will need a decision maker who is present from the local authority. It is our experience that unless a decision-maker is present, it is less likely to resolve matters. If matters are too complex to be resolved in a mediation meeting, or you have already tried to discuss these matters with the local authority without success, you may wish to move straight to requesting a mediation certificate.