A key principle of the SEN Code of practice is that local authorities, schools, health and social care providers should work in partnership with children, young people and parents to assess and meet the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This includes a duty to engage with families to resolve any disagreements or disputes that arise.
Many concerns will be resolved quickly and informally. Children, Young People and parents should be able to approach the person who is working directly with child to discuss any concerns, ask questions and make suggestions and requests.
They should also feel able to approach a manager or Headteacher within the organisation if they feel the matter is serious, or can’t be resolved by the person who normally works with the young person.
Some disputes may be resolved immediately by putting in place what has been requested or clarifying something that has been misunderstood or miscommunicated.
In other cases it may be helpful to arrange a meeting with other key people (eg school nurse, SENCO, specialist nurse) to discuss the issues and agree a way forward. There may even need to be a series of meetings to review how changes are working.
Some parents and young people will be happy to attend meetings on their own, but some may find this difficult. Responsible bodies should welcome the involvement of the Independent Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) or advocates to support families at any point in the process.