How to resolve disagreements

Wolverhampton Information, Advice and Support Service

When things are not working well in nursery, school or college

Our service aims to support parents, carers and young people to resolve disagreements in relation to special educational needs and/or disability and help you move forward.  We can support you to be actively involved in any discussions and decisions and help you to express your views. See our SEN support page for more information on what nursery, school or college should be doing to support.

The first port of call for complaints about schools should usually be to the school itself. This applies both to maintained schools, academies and independent schools. There is guidance on how to complain on the Department for Education’s website.

The next steps if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint depends on the type of setting. More information on what to do next can be found on the IPSEA website.

Further information regarding how to make a formal complaint, please visit Complaints about schools - City of Wolverhampton Council.


At any stage we encourage you to talk to the Local Authority to try to resolve the issue. We can help you with this.

You have a right to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) on the following:

  • the decision not to conduct an EHC needs assessment/re-assessment
  • the decision not to issue an EHCP
  • the contents of parts B, F or I of the final EHCP i.e. the parts relating to special educational needs and provision
  • the decision not to amend an EHCP following an annual review or re-assessment
  • the decision to cease an EHCP

The law states that the local authority must secure the school or setting requested within the EHC Plan, unless:

“(a)the school or other institution requested is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs of the child or young person concerned, or (b)the attendance of the child or young person at the requested school or other institution would be incompatible with— (i)the provision of efficient education for others, or (ii)the efficient use of resources.” (Children and Families Act section 39 (4))

The SEND Tribunal powers extend to health and social care and can be considered as part of a contents appeal where disagreement has not been resolved locally. The SEND Tribunal only has the power to make ‘non-binding recommendations’ on health and social care but it is expected that these will generally be followed.

If you wish to appeal you may only do so once you have considered mediation.  You have two months from the date of the decision letter from the Local Authority to register an appeal.

Considering mediation

Mediation is an informal, confidential, non-legalistic process involving the parties in dispute and an impartial and independent mediator.

Their role is to understand the position of both parties, to facilitate a conversation with the aim of reaching a mutual agreement through a structured meeting. They will ensure your views are heard.

You will need to contact an independent mediation service and either:

  • Request a mediation meeting or
  • Obtain a mediation certificate to prove that you have considered mediation.

The local authority must inform you of the local services available for mediation.

Accessing mediation does not affect your right to appeal. You will need to include the certificate if you register an appeal.

WIASS can offer information and advice to help you make your decision.

For all complaints regarding Local Authority processes, you must follow the Local Authority complaints procedure.

Contact us for more information about your options.