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Title: Mediation and conciliation in disputes about special educational needs : proportionate dispute resolution or justice on the cheap?
Author: Vallely, Maria Luisa
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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The thesis identifies goals of proportionate dispute resolution (PDR). The operation of the decision-making and dispute resolution processes relating to the provision of remedial help for children with special educational needs (SEN) is examined to assess attainment of these goals. A factual basis is established for the analysis by describing the relevant legislative provisions and what is known about their operation from existing empirical research. The exercise of discretion is examined. A theoretical framework is devised to enable consideration of the balance of trade-offs; collective goals and individual interests; and adequacy of redress. The SEN decision-making and appeals processes are analysed with reference to this framework. Parties to SEN disputes are parents and Local Education Authorities (LEAs). Attainment of PDR goals by the formal SEN dispute resolution mechanisms is assessed and the mechanisms compared. In 2002, obligations were imposed upon LEAs to provide informal disagreement resolution services in the form of conciliation and mediation. The strengths and weaknesses of these dispute resolution models are considered with reference to theoretical and empirical works. The effect of their introduction is then assessed with reference to the framework and attainment of PDR goals. None of the formal or informal dispute resolution mechanisms assure attainment of all of the PDR goals. Neither does the operation of the system as a whole. Analysis of the children's services complaints model using the framework reveals that this model assures attainment of all PDR goals and affords adequate redress. The model appears to resolve problems identified in the SEN dispute resolution process, and to be a promising candidate both for reform of that process and for a unified system of education and children's services complaints. The role of children in the process and possibilities for one-door access and a single system are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available