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Special Educational Needs And Disability Act 2001

Section 3: Resolution of disputes

51.This section amends the EA by inserting a new section 332B and provides an additional means of resolving disagreements between parents and the LEA and/or schools. It also introduces a new mechanism to seek to prevent such disputes. The new arrangements are intended to provide an informal forum for exploring differences, identifying points of agreement and disagreement and to find a way forward that all parties accept. Section 332B(3) requires LEAs to appoint an independent person (not part of the school or LEA decision-making process) to facilitate the avoidance or resolution of disputes. In practice, this will often be someone from the voluntary sector. Section 332B(4) requires LEAs to take heed of any guidance issued by the Secretary of State or, in Wales, the NAW when making the arrangements. It is intended that Chapter 2 of the revised SEN Code of Practice will provide this guidance.

52.Section 332B(5) requires LEAs to ensure that parents and schools in their area are made aware of dispute prevention and resolution arrangements. LEAs must also inform such other interested parties as they deem appropriate. Section 332B(6) provides that parents who take advantage of these new arrangements will not lose any existing legal rights to lodge an appeal with the SENT.

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