Disagreement on SEN Decision

Ways to resolve a SEN disagreement or dispute.

There may be times when you might disagree with a decision made by a school or the Education Authority (EA). 

If there is a disagreement, then there are a number of ways in which your views can be heard.

What if I don’t agree with the school?

Good communication and positive relationships between parents or carers and educational settings and schools are vital. A child or young person learns best when all partners are working together.

The SEN Code of Practice provides practical guidance to grant-aided schools and special schools, the EA, health and social care authorities and others on carrying out their statutory duties with regard to children who have, or may have, SEN. It places the child firmly at the centre of the graduated response to meeting the needs of children and young people with SEN. It aims to help children with SEN achieve improved outcomes and fulfil their potential. The Code aims to help schools and the EA obtain the best value from the resources and expertise they invest to help children with SEN make progress and achieve better outcomes.

Any concerns should be raised with your child’s teacher in the first instance. However, where you consider that your concern has not been addressed adequately you may wish to follow the school’s complaints policy to resolve any disagreement or dispute. 

The Dispute Avoidance & Resolution Service (DARS) is a free and independent service that works towards avoiding and resolving disagreements between parents and a school, regarding children with SEN.

The service provided by Global Mediation provides a forum for exploring differences, identifying points of agreement, and finding a way forward which is acceptable for all involved. You can telephone (028 9072 6060) or write to Global Mediation (55-59 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8FE).

What if I don’t agree with the Education Authority?

A child learns best when all partners are working together. Good communication and positive relationships between parents or carers, schools and the EA are vital. 

Involving children with SEND and their parents in decision making is a key objective of the SEN Code of Practice. Parents should also be involved in supporting and consolidation of learning/strategies, where appropriate.

If you don’t agree with the EA, it is important to keep the channels of communication open. 

For general advice you may wish to contact the SEN Helpdesk on 028 9598 5960, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Finding a way forward

The Dispute Avoidance & Resolution Service (DARS) is also available in avoiding and resolving disagreements between parents and the Education Authority, regarding children with SEN.

The service provided by Global Mediation provides a forum for exploring differences, identifying points of agreement, and finding a way forward which is acceptable for all involved. You can telephone (028 9072 6060) or write to Global Mediation (55-59 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8FE).

For further information or if you have a comment or complaint to make see the EA’s Comments and Complaints Procedure.

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