Mediation need rises

12th August 2011 at 01:00

Local authorities and parents of children with additional support needs are resorting increasingly to independent mediation services to resolve conflict, new figures show.

Resolve:ASL, which is Scotland's largest mediation provider and is managed by Children in Scotland, dealt with 17 mediation cases between April and July this year; by comparison, over the 12 months between April 2010 and March 2011, it had 29.

The spike in the figures was attributed by Sandra Mitchell, mediation manager at Resolve:ASL, to rising awareness among parents of the availability of mediation and fears about the impact of council budget cuts on ASL services. The latter made parents more inclined to try to secure provision through alternative routes, she said.

Resolve:ASL is usually consulted when communication between the family and the education provider breaks down, or conflict arises over the level of support for a child. Resolve and Common Ground Mediation cover two-thirds of local authorities in Scotland between them.

Morag Steven, director of Common Ground, confirmed a similar pattern: 15 enquiries between April and June this year, compared to 27 over the whole of last year.

Julia Belgutay, julia.belgutay@tes.co.uk.

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