To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 25 April 2022 to Question 155726 on Special Educational Needs: Tribunals, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the introduction of compulsory mediation on the ability of families with disabled children to access the SEND Tribunal and obtain redress when necessary.
19 May 2022
As the SEND and AP green paper sets out, the new national system will be designed to minimise uncertainty and disagreements throughout the system and improve parental confidence. The department recognises, however, that disputes around decision-making may still occur.
The government’s proposals seek to resolve issues earlier and improve relationships locally by strengthening mediation, including consulting on making it mandatory. Appeals to the tribunal should only need to be made in cases where parents feel that their child’s needs or proposed provision arrangements are not in line with the new national SEND standards, and mediation has not resolved the dispute. Mediation helps to maintain and improve relationships between providers, local authorities and families which is important for long-term collaborative working and supports better outcomes for children and young people.
This will reduce the need for cases to escalate to tribunal. The department will make sure there is appropriate support available to parents to help them understand the mediation process and how best to engage with it. However, parents will still be able to go to tribunal if necessary.
The green paper is now out for public consultation on its proposals until 22 July.