The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 requires every Education Authority to make appropriate arrangements for the provision of independent mediation services which seek to avoid or resolve disagreement between the Authority and:
- parents of children with additional support needs belonging to the area of the Authority
- young persons belonging to that area
- the parents of young persons belonging to that area who lack capacity to express a view or make a decision for those purposes
It is usually helpful to discuss any concerns with the Head Teacher in the first instance. Education Officers can also be involved in helping to resolve disagreements and contact details for the link Education Officer can be obtained from the school. If it has not been possible to resolve concerns at a school level you can contact the Education Manager Inclusion and Integration, Helensburgh Civic Centre, 38 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh G84 7PG. It is hoped that most disagreements can be successfully resolved at a local level.
Mediation Arrangements in Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute’s mediation contract is with Resolve. Resolve: ASL, based within Children in Scotland, is a service offering local authorities a fully independent means to resolve disputes with parents/carers of children and young people with additional support needs.
Mediation can be accessed by writing to the Education Manager Inclusion and Integration, Helensburgh Civic Centre, 38 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh, G84 7PG.
The Aims and Benefits of Mediation
Often a dispute or disagreement can be resolved by contacting the Head Teacher of the school involved. In cases where this proves to be impossible a parent, carer or young person can request the support or involvement of the Council's contracted mediation service.
A Resolve: ASL mediator is a trained, independent, neutral third party who can:
- Assist services and families to resolve conflict
- Explore and encourage mutual understanding
- Restore and repair communication
- Assist the parties to explore options and arrive at outcomes / agreements themselves
- Re-establish trust and focus on the way forward
- Establish a basis for effective future parent / school / authority partnerships
A Resolve Mediator does not make decisions or recommend solutions.
Mediation is an entitlement. Parents can ask for access to it, even if it is not immediately offered. It is free of charge to parents or carers.
Further Means of Resolving Disputes
Resolving disputes by External Independent Adjudication
This mechanism is for the resolution of disputes caused by the way the Authority carries out its function. In essence it covers situations where a child has additional support needs but no Coordinated Support Plan (CSP).
It may also cover cases where an Authority does not fulfil the requirement of a CSP. Where a request for dispute resolution access is made, Ministers will appoint an external adjudicator from a national panel.
The process should not normally take longer than eight weeks to conclude from the time of the initial request.
Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland
The Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland (ASNTS) was established in November 2005 by The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 which made provision for the establishment of the Tribunals.
These Tribunals hear cases involving children and young people who face the biggest barriers to learning. The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 brought additional roles for the Tribunal.
The Additional Support Needs Tribunals hear references involving children and young people who either have, or are potentially entitled to have, a CSP. The Tribunal will also in certain circumstances hear references about placing requests.
The Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland can also consider appeals in relation to disability discrimination.
The ASNTS website, found at the link below, is designed to help anyone who has an interest in the Tribunal. If you are a young person or the parent of a child with additional support needs, this website should help you decide whether the Tribunal can help with your dispute. The contact details for the Tribunal are as follows:
Glasgow Tribunals Centre
20 York Street
Telephone: 0141 302 5860
Web Address: https://www.healthandeducationchamber.scot/index.php/home
Further details and access routes to Tribunals are available by contacting
Education Manager Inclusion and Integration
Helensburgh Civic Centre
38 East Clyde Street
The National Advocacy Service for Additional Support Needs
Govan Law Centre, in partnership with Barnardo’s Scotland, have been awarded the contract for the National Advocacy Service until March 2021. To promote the national reach of the service, it has been renamed Let’s Talk ASN Scotland.
The service provides advocacy and legal representation, on request and free of charge, to parents and young people who may require support in relation to a dispute, or potential dispute with an education authority. The contact details for the service remain as noted below:
Let’s Talk ASN Scotland
c/o Govan Law Centre
18-20 Orkney Street