SEND Mediation

Special Educational Needs and Disability Mediation

Prime Resolution Ltd has been selected as a provider of SEND Mediation for most of the Local Authorities in the West Midlands. Please see below (click here?) for a list of the local authorities in which we offer an independent mediation service. In some authorities, you will be given a list of providers to choose from. Whilst we very much hope that you will choose us as your mediation provider, it is your decision. Even if we provide you with initial advice you can choose one of the other providers on the list to carry out the actual mediation.

What is SEND Mediation?

Mediation is a widely-used process designed to help people to reach agreements over matters in which they are in dispute - in the SEND context this will be about issues relating to an Education Health and Care Plan. Under government guidelines introduced in 2014, SEND Mediation is paid for by local authorities and offered free to all parents, or young people, who are considering making an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. There is also a requirement for parents and young people to consider mediation before registering an appeal with the Tribunal.

What can it be used for?

SEND Mediation is available to anyone involved in a dispute with their Local Authority over a decision relating to any aspect of an Education Health and Care Plan – including the refusal to assess a child or young person (aged 0 – 25yrs) for a plan; or a refusal to issue a plan following assessment.

At what point can mediation be used?

Mediation can only be used after the local authority has reached a decision that you disagree with and which gives rise to a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal.

Is mediation compulsory?

Before you can register your appeal, you will need to speak to an independent mediator appointed by the Local Authority to receive some information and advice about mediation. Your first point of contact at Prime Resolution will be Marilyn Webster, an Accredited Mediator, who can be contacted on 01952 303038. Marilyn will listen to your story and will give you the information you need to decide what route is best for you. You can then decide whether to try mediation first or go straight to Tribunal. If you choose not to mediate we will issue you with the Mediation Advice Certificate which you will need to register your appeal. If you do decide to mediate we have 30 days to arrange a mediation meeting with the Local Authority. You can tell us who else you think needs to be there and we will invite them.

Once you have made a decision to mediate we will allocate a member of our mediator team to work with you and guide you through the process. We are a small, friendly, team who work closely together and believe in the importance of what we do. We hope that you will find us helpful and approachable – and that you will let us support you in finding a resolution to your dispute through mediation.

  • Marilyn has a social work background and has been a mediator for over 20 years. She has worked in SEN Mediation since 2001.
  • John Walker has 20 years’ experience as a lawyer specialising in public law and education and has been a mediator for 5 years, specialising in SEN mediation since 2014.
  • Rob Poleykett also has a legal background- this time in family law. Rob works mainly in the Shropshire area where he has successfully resolved many SEND disputes since 2014.
  • Dr Lesley Allport, like Marilyn, has over 20 years’ experience as a mediator and has been involved in SEND mediation since 2001. Brian Hepburn recently left his Local Authority post as Head of an SEN team to train as a mediator and work with Prime Resolution.

Can I get help earlier?

If you have a dispute with your local authority, or education provider, which has not yet reached the stage of going to Tribunal you can request disagreement resolution. Mediation and disagreement resolution are essentially the same process but operate at different stages and in different circumstances.

Disagreement resolution can be used in a wider variety of circumstances and not just pre-Tribunal. It can be used (for example) to resolve disputes between parents and young people and schools or other education providers and covers all children and young people with SEN, not just those who are being assessed for or have an EHC plan.

If you think this service could help you then please contact us and we will approach the other parties on your behalf.

Prime Resolution SEND Mediation

  • SEND Mediation is available to anyone involved in a dispute with their Local Authority over a decision relating to any aspect of an Education Health and Care Plan
  • You retain your right to appeal to the SEND Tribunal.
  • You still have at least the same amount of time left to register your appeal as you did when you decided to try mediation.
  • Mediation is quicker than going to tribunal.
  • Your mediator will guide you through the process, and ensure that you are supported during the meeting.

To find out more about this service you can