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Mediation and tribunals

Mediation can be used to resolve disagreements about education, health and social care elements of an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

If there is disagreement about the health and or social care provision of an EHC plan, going to mediation may help. It was not previously possible to appeal these aspects at the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).

On 20 July 2021, the Department for Education confirmed the SEND Tribunal will continue to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, provided those appeals include education elements after the Trial ends on 31 August 2021.

Full details have been published on the Department for Education website.

When can mediation take place?

Mediation can take place: 

  • If we decide not to carry out an EHC needs assessment
  • If we decide not to draw up an EHC plan
  • After a final EHC plan is issued
  • If we decide not to amend an EHC plan
  • If we decide to cease an EHC plan
  • If there is a disagreement about the education, health and social care elements of an EHC plan

In any of the examples given above, you will receive a letter from us to say if there is a right to appeal the decision to SENDIST. It will also give details of the mediation service.

If you want to appeal

Parent carers and young people will need to consider mediation if they wish to appeal to SENDIST. They will need to discuss this with the mediation service.

If you do not want to go mediation but do want to appeal to SENDIST:

  • You will have eight weeks from the date of the letter from us that arrives with the final EHC plan, to be issued with a mediation certificate to say you have considered mediation 

If you do want to go to mediation:

  • You will have one month from the date on the mediation certificate

In both cases you will usually need the mediation certificate to be able to appeal. We have 30 days from when we are asked to take part in mediation, to fit in with the mediation arrangements.


In Norfolk, the mediation service is delivered by KIDS SEN Mediation Service. You can contact this independent organisation:

Mediation gives everybody a chance to give their own views and listen to others. It is not confrontational but looks for solutions that everybody can agree to. If a young person or parent carer wishes to appeal to SENDIST, you must consider mediation unless it is only about placement (section I).

KIDS SEN Mediation Service will be happy to talk through issues, answer any questions and let you know if mediation may help. It will then be your decision if you would like to continue with mediation.

If you decide not to go for mediation services, KIDS SEN Mediation Service will issue a certificate, within three working days of being told of the decision not to go with mediation, to say that information about mediation has been provided by them. You can then appeal by producing a copy of the certificate. The appeal must be made within two months of the decision being sent or one month of receiving the certificate - depending on which gives the most time.

Further information

For more information please contact Norfolk SEND Partnership or KIDS SEN Mediation Service who will help you understand the details and guide you through mediation.