Sometimes you or your parents/carers will disagree with school decisions about what support is right for you

Here are some ways to sort out disagreements with your school
No yes maybeStep 1: Try talking….

A lot of problems can be sorted out by talking things through to come up with ways to start to make things better. Your first step should be to talk to your class, guidance or learning support teacher about your worries. If you’re still feeling concerned after doing this, you could ask to speak to a senior member of school staff – like the head teacher or deputy head.

Step 2: Dispute Resolution 

If talking to the school doesn’t make things better and you still disagree with the support you receive, you have more options. You, your parents or carers and the school or local council might need help to solve the problem.

This is called Dispute Resolution. A Dispute is a disagreement or argument. A Resolution is a way to fix something.

3 Different types of dispute resolution used to sort out disagreements with schools:

1. Mediation

handshakeMediation is where a mediator helps fix a problem in a way that everyone can agree with. A mediator does not take sides, they are independent from your family, your school and your local council.

Mediation is a chance for all the people involved to have a say and for everyone to listen to each other.

You might not be involved in the mediation meeting, but the mediator should ask you what you think about the problem and what might help.

If you are aged 12 – 15, you have the right for your views to be listened to.

2. Independent Adjudication

This is another way of sorting out problems when people can’t agree. An adjudicator (who is independent from your school and local council) looks at all the paperwork about you and your support  – like letters, emails or plans. They then make suggestions on what might solve the problem.

If you are aged 12 -15, you have the right to ask for independent adjudication.

3. The Additional Support for Learning Tribunal

Young People's Website about Tribunals - Needs to Learn The Additional Support for Learning Tribunal is a group of experts who look into disagreements about extra support in school. They can be asked to look into any worries you have about your co-ordinated support plan (whether you need one, what’s in it or whether it needs to be reviewed). They can also look into the plans for you leaving school, or whether you have been treated differently because you have a disability.

Your parents or carers may decide to take your case to the Tribunal (this is called ‘making a reference’). But children can do this too. No matter how old you are, you can take your case to the Tribunal if you think you are being treated differently to everybody else because you have a disability.

If you are aged 12 -15, you can take your case to the Tribunal on things related to your co-ordinated support plan or if you think your school hasn’t planned for you leaving school.

Don’t forget that before you can use your rights, your school or local council will check that’s it’s ok for you to do so. 


Need help to sort out a disagreement with the school?

My Rights My Say logoIf you disagree with the support you get at school, you can find out more about dispute resolution and how to use your rights from the My Rights, My Say service.

Contact My Rights, My Say here.