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How to Resolve a Disagreement

Wherever possible we want to enable issues and disagreements to be discussed and resolved at the earliest opportunity. This may be an informal chat with a teacher, social worker or health professional initially. Schools, colleges and services will have their own published policies and/or guidance for addressing complaints and disagreements and the arrangements described below are not intended to replace these.

However, it is recognised that there may be instances where a more formal opportunity for meeting and talking with those involved in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, facilitated by an independent and neutral third party, is required. Such discussions would include the parents and carers. They may also involve the children and young people themselves, as appropriate.

This page sets out the different processes available depending on the nature of the issue/disagreement, in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015 and updated to include the Single Route of Redress which came into force in April 2018.


How to resolve a disagreement from Nottinghamshire Local Offer on Vimeo.

Disagreement Resolution Service (DRS)

DRS is the process for exploring and addressing issues about any aspect of SEN provision, including health and social care disagreements. The child or young person does not have to have, or be in the process of being assessed for, an Education, Health and Care Plan in order to access the disagreement resolution process. It is intended to provide a quick and non-adversarial way to resolve disagreements.  

Two providers were successful in tendering to deliver Disagreement Resolution Services (DRS) across the East Midlands. They are KIDS and The Together Trust. You can find out more about their respective Disagreement Resolution Services by visiting their websites (please see external links on the right side of this page) or by calling them:

  • KIDS –  tel: 03330 062 835
  • The Together Trust – 0161 283 4836


or completing the on-line form:


Mediation Services are specifically focused on issues and disagreements relating to the Education, Health and Care (EHC) process. Parents have the right of appeal to the First Tier tribunal if they disagree with a Local Authority decision within the EHC process, e.g.:

  • The LA decides that an EHC needs assessment is not necessary
  • After an EHC needs assessment is completed, the Local Authority decides that an EHC plan is not necessary
  • Other changes to the EHC plan following the Annual Review process.

Parents and young people are required to consider formal mediation if they wish to lodge an appeal against these decisions, unless they are only disagreeing with the name of the education placement named on an EHC plan. Mediation advice is also not required where the disagreement is in relation to a disability discrimination claim. (Please see the downloadable guidance on this page for further information about disability discrimination claims).

Parents and young people will need to obtain a certificate to demonstrate that they have at least considered mediation prior to lodging an appeal, or a certificate to say they have taken part in mediation. This certificate will be issued by a Mediation Adviser, who can provide support and guidance to you about what can be appealed to tribunal, how mediation can be accessed and who the appointed mediators are for the East Midlands.

Following a tendering process Global Mediation Ltd was appointed to provide Mediation Advice across the East Midlands region. This service is free of charge to users and can be accessed via the following Freephone number – 0800 064 4488.

Global Mediation Ltd is a separate organisation from the providers of mediation services in the East Midlands and is therefore able to provide neutral and independent advice on the mediation process and refer you to a mediation provider, if appropriate.

For more information about mediation, please see the relevant detailed guidance on the right side of this page:

  • Resolving disagreements: decision about whether to carry out  an EHC needs assessment
  • Resolving disagreements: relating to local authority decisions about Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

Appeal to the First Tier Tribunal

When Local Authorities make certain decisions about the education and/or training of a child or young person with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), there is a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. If the decision concerns a child, it is the parent who has the right of appeal. If the decision concerns a young person, then it is the young person who has the right of appeal. Please see the relevant detailed guidance on the right side of this page:

  • Resolving disagreements: decision about whether to carry out  an EHC needs assessment
  • Resolving disagreements: relating to local authority decisions about Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans

See also the First-tier Tribunal webpage, which can be accessed under external links on the right side of this page.

Single Route of Redress

Previously parents and young people have only been able to appeal against the educational aspects of the EHC plan. However, there is a new national trial which now gives parents or young people rights to request non-binding recommendations about health and social care needs and the associated provision specified in the EHC plan. The trial applies to decisions made or EHC plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018. This trial is also known as the ‘Single Route of Redress’.

The First-tier Tribunal is only able to consider appeals against the health and/or social care aspects of an EHC plan if you have already registered an appeal against the educational elements of the plan and this part of the appeal remains ‘live’ throughout the appeal process.  

See ‘More information about the trial of a Single Route of Redress’ guidance under downloads on the right side of this page.

Young People Complaints/Disputes

If you are a young person aged 16 -25 in school or college and have a complaint or dispute about the education provision you are receiving and need help to sort these problems out you can access guidance on this by clicking on the link called 'SEND Complaints: A Guide for Young People In Education', which is available under downloads on the right side of this page.

Advice and Support (ASK US Nottinghamshire)

Ask Us Nottinghamshire offer the following support services for parents/carers of children and young people with SEND:

  • Telephone helpline.
  • Face-to-face support.
  • In-depth casework support for parents including attendance at education-related meetings.
  • Support to request EHC Needs Assessment and with the EHCP process and appeals.
  • Advice and support relating to exclusions of children/young people with SEND.

Ask Us Nottinghamshire can be accessed via email: or tel: 0800 1217772

Find Us on Facebook

Facebook is monitored during office hours Monday - Friday, however if your enquiry is serious, urgent or involves personal details, we advise you to contact the team on 0300 500 80 80 or email:

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