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Resolving Differences

Resolving Differences

Clackmannanshire Council is committed to working in partnership with parents. It recognises that clear and regular communication between parents, children and young people and those who work with them is essential to build good relationships.


Good communication alongside information and support help avoid disagreements or prevent them from escalating into more serious disputes.

The Council recognises the importance of parents in being fully involved in discussions about a child's additional support needs. Parents and carers should be included fully in decisions that affect their child and, where necessary, given support by their school or nursery to take part in meetings. Advocacy services are also available to offer support.

As a parent or carer you will be involved right from the start in making decisions about your child's additional support needs. If you are unhappy with anything being suggested or planned, make your views known as soon as possible.

You can do this at any meeting or by arranging an informal discussion with a relevant member of school staff. Your views will be taken into account. You have the right to bring a supporter along with you to help ensure that your views are understood, put across and taken account of in discussions.

Establishments and parents may not always agree on what is in the best interest of the child, but by developing good relationships, and through good communication, it is expected that most problems and disagreements will be solved at school/nursery level.

The staged procedures for working through disagreements are:

Step 1

Discussion with Headteacher or other relevant member of staff, e.g. Principal Teacher of Pupil Support, or Depute Headteacher.

Step 2

Discussion with relevant Education officer (ASN). If disagreements cannot be resolved at school or education authority level there are various options for resolution.

You can also refer to the Children in Scotland Specialist national services - Enquire and Resolve:ASL page.


Mediation is a way of resolving disputes with the help of an impartial third part, a mediator. The mediator works with parents, young people and staff together to enable them to explore options, make decisions and reach agreement. The mediator does not take sides and does not decide the terms of any agreement.

Mediation can help avoid conflicts which arise out of misunderstandings. It can help families and staff to build or rebuild a positive relationship leading to agreement over the arrangements to meet the child's additional support needs. The overriding principle is reaching an agreement.

Mediation is confidential and any discussions held can only be shared by agreement.

Dispute Resolution

When this is requested the Scottish Government will appoint an independent person, an adjudicator. They will look at the information provided by the parents and young person and the local authority in order to get a clear understanding of both sides of the disagreement.

The adjudicator will then make recommendation to everyone involved. This process should take about eight weeks.

When is Dispute Resolution Used?

When a child or young person has additional support needs, but does not have a coordinated support plan.

Dispute Resolution can be used when there are disagreements about:

  • The assessment of additional support needs;
  • The level of additional support required or being provided.

This service is provided free of charge to parents and young people.

Dispute Resolution Request

Requests for Dispute Resolution should be made in writing to the Improving Outcomes Manager (ASN) at the address below, who will acknowledge your request and help make the necessary arrangements.

Additional Support Needs Tribunals

Parents and young people have a right to refer to a tribunal when they disagree with a decision made with regard to a co-ordinated support plan.

  • Additional support needs tribunals will deal only with matters relating to coordinated support plans;
  • The tribunal is a panel of independent people who will make a decision about a coordinated support plan where there is a disagreement between parents and/or young people and the authority;
  • There will be three members one of whom will have a legal background, the others will be experienced in Additional Support Needs;
  • Parents and young people will have 2 months after receiving a decision letter about a co-ordinated support plan to refer to the tribunal if they disagree with the authority's decision.

The aims of the tribunal are:

  • To make independent judgements;
  • To discourage formal, legal proceedings by providing a forum for constructive discussion;
  • To make decision which reflect best practice in relation to Additional Support Needs.
What matters can be referred to a tribunal?

Parents and young people can refer to a tribunal if they disagree with the decision the authority has taken:

  • To prepare a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP);
  • Not to prepare a CSP;
  • To continue a CSP;
  • To discontinue a CSP;
  • About the timescales of a CSP;
  • Not to comply with a request to establish whether a child or young person requires a CSP.

Where a CSP already exist parents or young people can refer to the tribunal concerning:

  • The information within the CSP;
  • Failure to review the CSP at the end of 12 months;
  • Failure to review the CSP within the timescales of the regulations;
  • The decision to refuse a placing request. (This also applies if a CSP is not yet prepared but there is intention to do so).

Further Information

For more information please contact the Quality Improvement Officer(ASN) at Lime Tree House using the details below.

Further useful resources

For Further Information Contact

Educational Service
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000