Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity (CREID)

Think Tank 2: How to use the tribunal constructively

Dispute resolution in additional support needs: Working together to improve children’s and families’ experiences in Scotland (an ESRC Funded Knowledge Exchange Programme)

Venue Room G.21 Paterson’s Land, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh
Date Thursday 25th August 2011, 9.30am - 3.15pm

Ensuring that children with additional support needs receive the help they need is clearly of critical importance, but disagreements may sometimes arise between parents and the school or local authority in deciding on the nature and extent of additional provision. The Government is keen to ensure that any issues are speedily resolved, using informal negotiation or mediation rather than court or tribunal wherever possible. However, recent research conducted by the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester found that parents were often dissatisfied with the outcome of informal negotiation and mediation has, to date, not been extensively used. In our research, parents expressed a preference for the tribunal over mediation or adjudication on the grounds that it clarified the issues and produced enforceable recommendations.

This knowledge exchange project aims to:

  • consider what can be done to improve communication between parents of children with additional support needs and professionals
  • enhance understanding of different types of dispute resolution
  • identify how each dispute resolution process may be used more effectively

This is the second think tank in a series of three. It focuses on how to use the tribunal constructively, ensuring that decisions are made swiftly and that the process is as user friendly as possible. It also considers how advocacy can be used to support parents in accessing the tribunal.

Programme documents