A new service from KIDS London SEN Mediation Service
Have you ever put off arranging a difficult meeting because you’re worried it will lead to conflict and get out of hand? Most meetings between parents and local authorities or schools don’t lead to conflict, but when they do they make it hard to build trusting and constructive relationships, and meetings become time-consuming and exhausting. Time and energy invested early in the relationship can help prevent such conflict – and so can bringing in expert help.
Building on our 12 years of experience offering impartial mediation to local authorities, schools, and parents, we are now offering an independent facilitation service to help prevent conflict. Facilitation is a less structured meeting in which an independent facilitator chairs the discussion, keeps people on track and records action points. They can also help organise the meeting and set the agenda.
For local authorities and schools, facilitators can free up SEN case officers and SENCos to focus on the issues and not the admin. For parents, independent facilitators provide reassurance that both sides are being heard and action points are being recorded.
Taking steps to avoid conflict doesn’t just make good sense in terms of efficiency. Local Authorities will be expected to do this under the proposed new legislation. The new Families and Children Bill puts a duty on local authorities to “provide for the appointment of independent persons with the function of facilitating the avoidance or resolution of the disagreements to which the arrangements apply”.
We use our team of trained independent mediators as facilitators in cases where full-fledged mediation isn’t needed, but some independent input would help. It’s a flexible process, which means we can respond to the individual circumstances of the case and needs of the participants.
When would you involve a facilitator? Having an expert independent facilitator can help with a range of meetings, including:
- Annual reviews of SEN statements – chairing a meeting that involves a number of professionals, parents and child or young person,
- Team around the Child meetings – supporting Lead Professionals in their role of convening TAC meetings,
- Discussions with parents on draft statements/Single EHC Plans and IEPs –chairing informal but focused meetings about the drafting of statements and Single EHC Plans.
A facilitator will organise the meeting, draft an agenda, chair the meeting, and get clear written agreement on next steps – avoiding any ‘he said/she said’ disputes afterwards.
Facilitation is now part of the package of resources offered to local authority subscribers by KIDS London SEN Mediation Service.
KIDS London SEN Mediation Service on 0207359 3635
Mediation Manager: Audrey Dorival
Service Co-ordinator: Kirsty Dennis
7–9 Elliot’s Place, London N1 8HX