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Resolving a dispute about SEN decisions

Processes in place to help parents and young people.

Local Offer Oxfordshire

Dispute resolution

Early resolution of any disagreements is best for everyone and can help to avoid stress and expense.

If you are unable to agree about decisions or provision it may be helpful to have independent, impartial help. Disagreement resolution arrangements cover a range of disagreements.

SENDIASS can provide impartial support for parents when dealing with schools or the Local Authority.


Parents and young people may ask for mediation to help sort out disagreements relating to decisions about education, health and care needs assessments and plans.

How it works

Firstly, a trained, independent mediator will give advice about mediation, and then if it is agreed that mediation would be helpful a session will be set up with you and a representative of the local authority or health service depending upon what is disputed.

The mediator will clarify what the issue is and then try to help you both to reach an agreement.

Mediation can cover the health, education and/or care elements of an EHC plan.

Parents and young people must usually seek advice from an independent mediation adviser before they can make an appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal (known as the First Tier tribunal: SEN and Disability).

Find out more about mediation in the Code of Practice for SEND 2014 (paragraph 11.13 – 11.39).

Oxfordshire mediation

In Oxfordshire, mediation is carried out for the local authority by Global Mediation. Any attempt to reach agreement would not prejudice a first-tier tribunal decision, your rights would not be affected and an appeal to the tribunal could run at the same time as any other means to resolve things.

Help and information

Search for organisations and groups on the Family Information Service website to support parents and carers of disabled children and young people and those with SEN and additional needs.

Contact us

Special Needs and Disability - The Local Offer team is here to help you. Contact us.

Impartial free advice and support - education

The special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS) offers impartial information, advice and support to parents of children and young people with SEN and disabilities regarding their education. You can get in touch by completing this online form.

The service aims to help parents, carers, young people and educational professionals to work together to provide the best possible support to children and young people with special educational needs, by:

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