If you're not happy about the support your child or young person with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) receives, you can disagree with it.

You can sort out most issues by talking to:

For all decisions relating to educational, health and care (EHC) needs assessments, we offer ‘Next Steps’ meetings with SEND workers for your locality.  The aim of this meeting is to discuss a plan of action with parents, schools, or settings to ensure the right support is in place for a child or young person with SEND. 

If you still can't sort the issues, using disagreement resolution or mediation can help. Mediators work with everyone involved to try and sort the issue. 

These services are:

  • voluntary and independent
  • free and confidential 
  • quick and informal

Both parents and young people (over 16 years old) with SEND can use these services. 

Disagreement resolution

Information about resolving disagreements.

These sessions can help with issues about:

  • how a school, educational setting, or the local council are carrying out their duties
  • what help a school or setting offers
  • health or social care provision

Health or social care provision includes what is given:

You can use this service even if the child or young person doesn't have an EHCP. 



What mediation is and when you can use it.

The mediation service is for when you have concerns about the education that has been provided for a child or young person with SEND.

You can use it when there has been a decision: 

  • not to carry out an EHC needs assessment 
  • not to carry out an EHC needs re-assessment 
  • not to draw up an EHCP after an assessment 
  • not to amend an EHCP after an annual review or re-assessment 
  • to cease an EHCP 

Mediation also helps with issues around: 

  • the parts of the EHCP that describe the child or young person's Special Educational Needs (SEN) 
  • the provision set out in the EHCP 


What you can expect from mediation

What happens in mediation.

The aim of mediation is to try and resolve a disagreement before considering a tribunal. This means that everyone in a mediation meeting needs to be willing to discuss and consider steps forward. They should do this to help support the child or young person. 

Global Mediation run the service. They are independent from the council.  

Mediation is a non-adversarial way to resolve disputes.  The mediator will work towards an outcome that suits everyone involved in the meeting, in the best interests of your child.  

Global Mediation will do their best to make sure the mediation meeting happens within 30 days from the date you enquire. 

You can meet online, or in person at a venue close to your home, at a time that works for you.  

In addition to SEND workers for your locality in our council, it’s advised that you ask other relevant professionals to be invited to the mediation. This could be a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or another education representative. 

It is usually helpful to hear from the school or college about:

  • the support they have put in place
  • how your child is presenting to them

You can also ask to invite your Dorset SENDIASS advisor  to support you during the mediation. If you don’t have one, you can contact Dorset SENDIASS.   

Before the mediation meeting, a trained and impartial mediator will contact you. They will also contact everyone you want invited to the meeting to explore the issues. They will ensure that there is a focused and frank discussion at the meeting. This is to hear everyone's views and consider all options.

The meeting is confidential and meeting notes are not taken unless by agreement.  At the end of the meeting, the mediator will work with everyone to draft an action plan. This will reflect any points and actions agreed during the mediation.  This will be distributed to everyone following the meeting.  

Mediators are trained to help with constructive discussions. They do not provide legal advice and can’t direct those in the meetings to agree to actions. It is not part of their role to decide the matter or make judgments.  

Mediation is not part of a SEND Tribunal process. Discussions and the actions plan from the mediation meeting cannot be used as evidence in a tribunal. Mediators cannot be called as witnesses to represent any parties as part of a SEND Tribunal 



Mediation certificates

Information about mediation certificates.

Global Mediation can give you information about mediation.

During the process, they may issue one or more mediation certificates.

Making an appeal

If you decide to make an appeal and go to SEND tribunal instead of having a mediation meeting, Global Mediation will issue a part 1 certificate. You must meet the eligibility criteria to go to tribunal. You can make an appeal within one month of the certificate issue date.

After you get the part 1 certificate, you can still change your mind and have a mediation meeting instead, as long as it’s within one month.

Mediation meeting

If you have a mediation meeting, Global Mediation will issue a part 2 mediation certificate afterwards. You can make an appeal within one month of the certificate issue date if you want to.

If your mediation only relates to an appeal against section 1 (placement) of an EHCP, Global Mediation won’t issue the part 2 certificate. You are still entitled to the mediation meeting.

Mediation meeting over 30 days after your enquiry

If your mediation meeting can’t be arranged within 30 days of the date you enquired, you will receive a part 3 certificate. This is to protect your legal rights. This gives you a month to make an appeal if you want to. You can still have a mediation meeting if Global Mediation gives you a part 3 certificate.

How to request mediation

How you can begin the process.

The special educational needs mediation service in Dorset is Global Mediation. You can contact them by calling 0800 064 4488 or by email.

They will explain the mediation process to you and, if you wish to proceed, will make all the arrangements for you and will keep you informed.

Global Mediation’s website includes lots of useful information about the mediation process, including videos which explain the process, including hearing from a young person who has attended a mediation meeting. 

Appeal to the SEND tribunal

How to make an appeal.

You can appeal if you do not agree with the EHC plan your local authority has made, or if they:

  • refuse to carry out an EHC assessment or reassessment
  • refuse to create an EHC plan after carrying out an assessment or reassessment
  • refuse to change the sections of an existing EHC plan which are about education (sections B, F and I)
  • refuse to change the sections of an existing EHC plan which are about health care needs which relate to their SEN (section C) and any healthcare provision reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN (section G)
  • refuse to change the sections of an existing EHC plan which are about social care needs which relate to their SEN or to a disability (section D) or any social care provision required from social services under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and/or reasonably required by the learning difficulties or disabilities which result in the child or young person having SEN (section H)
  • decide you or your child does not need an EHC plan any more

Find out how to appeal an education, health and care (EHC) plan decision on gov.uk.


Before you can submit an appeal, you must consider mediation before you appeal to the tribunal. Mediation is a less formal way of working out a solution to your problem.

If you do not want mediation

You still need to contact the mediation service to get a mediation certificate so that you can appeal. Find out more about mediation. 


Contact SENDIASS for information about the SEND Tribunal.

Contacts for help and guidance

Who you can speak to.

Global Mediation can explain the SEND mediation process to you and, if you wish to proceed, will make all the arrangements for you and will keep you informed.  

Dorset SENDIASS can provide impartial advice and guidance. An advisor can discuss options with you and give information about both the mediation and tribunal appeal processes. They can also attend your mediation meeting if you ask Global Mediation to invite them.