SEND Mediation Training


Releasing Potential’s 12-hour SEND Mediation Training Course for Mediators is available to Mediators wishing to develop their expertise in this specialist area.

Approved by the Civil Mediation Council and the College of Mediators, the course is delivered by expert practitioners based at Releasing Potential Mediation.




Established in 2001, Releasing Potential is an education charity and Independent School for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

We have extensive experience in supporting children, families, schools and Local Authorities and have shaped best practice in the SEND sector for eighteen years.

Our busy mediation service is well established and our experienced mediators work only on SEND cases, making them experts in this type of mediation. Our knowledge and understanding of the EHCP and SEND appeals process is second to none.

The course is run by a combination of our in-house SEND Mediators alongside Dr Alex Gray, who speiclaises in SEND-specific training.

Completing a training course in SEND Mediation at Releasing Potential will equip already qualified mediators with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding required to practise as a specialist SEND mediator.

Upon completion of the course and required CPD you will also be able to apply to the College of Mediators or the Civil Mediation Council to be placed on the Department for Education’s register of SEND mediatiors.



Loveday has worked as a SEND Mediator since 2016. As an in-house SEND Mediator at Releasing Potential Mediation, Loveday has worked on over 500 mediation cases, of which more than 300 have resulted in full mediation meetings between families and their Local Authority Officer.

Prior to Releasing Potential Mediation, Loveday worked as a Community Mediator with Portsmouth Mediation Service, working on a large volume of neighbour disputes within the city as part of the ‘Restorative Portsmouth’ mission. Loveday delivered PMS’s 40-hour Mediation Skills (OCN) training course as well as their Restorative Justice Facilitator’s Course (RANE) between 2011-2016.


Kay joined Releasing Potential in 2019, having spent decades working in Family Mediation. Kay is particularly experienced in working to ensure the voice of the child or young person is central to Mediation, something she brings to her work from her time in Family Mediation. 

Kay holds a Diploma in Mediation Skills and has extensive experience as a Senior Mediator in family cases; she is accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMC).  She is a registered SEND Mediator and is particularly experienced working on complex cases involving children and young people; she has also worked in education, with a particular interest in supporting dyslexic learners. Kay is currently also working with local schools to develop in-house mediation and dispute resolution strategies as a response to conflict between pupils, parents and school staff.

Kay is a SEND-specialist-PPC with the College of Mediators.



Alex is a specialist trainer in SEND. She heads up the Releasing Potential Institute and is also Service Manager for Releasing Potential Mediation, a SEND-only mediation service based in Hampshire and West Sussex. Alex is responsible for the professional development of all mediators working within Releasing Potential Mediation.

Alex is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, having worked as a Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth for 8 years. Since 2016, she has designed, delivered and assessed portfolios on Releasing Potential’s accredited suite of professional qualifications in SEND; she is a qualified Internal Verifier for NCFE and has received awards for excellence in teaching adult learners.

Alex is currently involved in launching Releasing Potential’s Level 5 and Level 6 (degree level) qualifications in teaching SEND (QTLS), an exciting project that will help resource professionals in this sector. Alex currently holds BA, MA, PhD, QTLS and TEFL qualifications.


Your course includes the following:

  • Two days (12 hours) of classroom training delivered by an expert team of highly experienced mediator and SEND-specialist trainers;
  • A copy of the Releasing Potential SEND Mediation Training Handbook;
  • Formative feedback both written and verbal;
  • 12 hours of supervised SEND mediation experience (3 mediations) alongside a registered SEND Mediator;
  • An additional 2 hours of reflective practice work as part of the learner’s Continuing Professional Development;
  • A certificate of completion to recognise the learner’s achievement.

Please note, we offer three supervised mediation sessions as part fo the course package. Ideally, these should be comprised of:

1. An observation of a mediation done by one of our mediators

2. A co-mediated session during which you will take part 

3. A solo mediation during which you will take the lead but be supervised by one of pur mediators

However, depending on your level of confidence and your ability to mediate solo, it may be that your three practice opportunities will need to be split differently.

In the event that the supervising mediator does not feel you are ready to mediate solo while supervised, you will be given another observation or co-mediated opportunity to build your skill and confidence.

While we will try to facilitate further opportunities for you to complete your practice and become a registered SEMND mediator, this will be on a best endeavours basis as he course only provides three inculded practice sessions. 




To register for the course you will:

  • have completed (or be nearing completion of) a foundation training course of at least 40 hours duration in Mediation/ Mediation Skills.
  • be able to commit to post-training Continuing Professional Development including three supervised SEND mediation meetings arranged by the Training Provider or your own organisation.
  • be able to attend both days of the training course for the full 12 hours.

Please note that only 8 places are available on each course. Those applicants who fulfil the criteria will be offered a place on the course on a first-come-first-served basis.

Course bookings for which we do not receive the agreed fees (or deposit) 4 days prior to the course start date may be cancelled and the place offered to a learner on the waiting list.

  1. Learners will develop an understanding of the legal context of SEND disputes.
  2. Learners will demonstrate the contextual knowledge of SEND that will aid in mediation cases.
  3. Learners will consolidate their practical skills in mediation with specific reference to the conduct of SEND mediation cases.
  4. Learners will operate successfully within the SEND appeals system and reflect on their own practice to ensure continuous professional development.

Module 1 will signpost the learner to the following pieces of legislation, highlighting as appropriate how they could be applied to different contexts: 

  • Primary Legislation 
  • Children and Families Act 2014 
  • SEND Code of Practice 2015 and SEND Regulations 2014 
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005 
  • Safeguarding Legislation
  • Supplementary Legislation 
  • Children Act 1989 
  • Equality Act 2010 
  • Care Act 2014 
  • Education Act 1996 and Code of Practice 2001 
  • Mental Health Act 1983, 2007 
  • Chronically sick and Disabled Persons Act 1974 
  • Human Rights Act 1988 
  • Working Together 2013 
  • Self-reflection and implications for personal development 

Primary legislation will be covered in some detail while secondary legislation will be referred to and signposted.  


Module 2 will cover the following topics: 

  • The voice of the Child/Young Person 
  • Language/definitions associated with SEND 
  • Understanding families and the processes by which SEND is identified 
  • How SEND support is structured and provided – the graduated response 
  • Role of professionals and who the CYP is likely to engage with 
  • Types of SEND – general overview/awareness (signposting as can be explored in more detail as part of CPD process) 
  • Reasonable adjustments 
  • Educational Health Care Plans 
  • Self-reflection and implications for personal development 

Module 3 will cover the following topics:  

  • Preparing for mediation: facilitating information exchange and clarifying agendas 
  • Working with children and young people 
  • Children and young people participating in mediation 
  • Voice of the child 
  • Authority to settle issues in SEND 
  • Managing multi party meetings 
  • Power balancing in SEND mediation 
  • Agreement writing in SEND context 
  • Working with advocates 
  • Child protection 
  • Mental capacity 
  • Legal context including:  
  • Duties of LA education and schools  
  • Duties of post 16 and FE providers
  • Duties of health and social care providers 
  • The SEND Tribunal 
  • Self-reflection and implications for personal development 

Case studies will be used to provide examples of key issues that typically require mediation. 


Module 4 will cover service specific processes and procedures as appropriate to the local context: 

  • How Releasing Potential Mediation and other providers work 
  • Local Authority processes and the Local Offer 
  • Self-reflection and implications for personal development 


Next course dates:

Wednesday 25th & Thursday 26th March 2020 CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

Course location: Chichester, West Sussex

Course timings: 09:30-16:30

Cost: £995.00 inclusive of VAT

Please note, learners must be able to attend both days of training in order to complete the course.

A deposit of £200 will be required to confirm your place on the course. Course fees can be paid via instalment by arrangement.

If you would like more information about what’s involved, please email Dr Alex Gray via:




1. Purpose

The Complaints Policy is intended to set out how Releasing Potential Mediation deals with its complaints about our mediation service and training courses. All members of the Releasing Potential community and those who use our services should feel able to express their views in the full knowledge that they are dealt with fairly.

We welcome suggestions for improving our work. All concerns or complaints are important to us and are investigated with due urgency and thoroughness. Our primary concern is getting the best outcome possible for parties in a dispute or for learners registered with us.

Whenever a complaint is upheld, every effort is made to rectify the issue and if necessary action is taken to try to prevent a recurrence of the problem. Releasing Potential Mediation does not investigate anonymous complaints or allegations.

2.    Aims

  • To provide an accessible and easily understood procedure for complaints
  • To encourage parents and social workers from the placing authority and members of the Releasing Potential community to express their views at the earliest opportunity, through the appropriate channels
  •  To increase mutual understanding between all parties
  • To create an ethos where all are committed to working together for the benefit of each service user and/or learner.

3.    Confidentiality

Whether a complaint is made informally or formally all parties involved should ensure that every effort is made to respect confidentially and ensure that all documentation remains confidential to those parties directly involved in the complaint being investigated. Learners and Service Users should be assured that making a complaint will not affect their achievement or their access to services, neither will it in any way prejudice their case. 

4.    How we manage our Concerns and Complaints

4.1    Stage 1:  Informal complaint

The vast majority of concerns and complaints can be resolved informally. There are many occasions where concerns are resolved straight away through direct contact with our Mediation Coordinator. We aim to resolve any informal complaint within one working day. If the person first contacted cannot deal with the matter immediately they refer to the person with responsibility for the particular issue raised. This person will continue to follow the issue through until it has been fully addressed and the matter is resolved either at a face-to-face meeting or by telephone.

On certain issues the Mediation Coordinator may decide to deal with the concerns directly at this stage.  If the concern relates to the Mediation Coordinator, the complainant is advised to contact the Service Manager via Where no satisfactory solution has been found, complainants are asked whether they wish their concern to be considered further. If so they are given clear information about how to make a formal complaint as outlined in the complaints policy.

A written record is made by the person dealing with the informal complaint and kept in a file in the office. A copy may be kept in file of young person if relevant.

4.2    Stage 2: Appeal to the CEO

The complainant makes a written appeal to the CEO detailing the original complaint and reasons why they remain unsatisfied after Service Manager’s investigation. The CEO writes to the complainant to acknowledge receipt within 5 working days.

The CEO investigates the complaint by speaking with relevant parties and reviewing documents. The CEO will confer with two or more other Trustees if necessary, and will make a decision.

The CEO will write to the complainant to advise them of the outcome and any actions arising.  In the case of a complaint against the Service Manager or CEO, the final recourse will be to the Chair of Trustees.

A record will be kept of all complaints.

Regardless of whether the complaint is upheld or not, a review of working practices will be held to determine what action needs to be taken to reduce the risk of this happening in future.

4.3    Stage 3: Appeal to the Chair of Trustees

The complainant makes a written appeal to the Chair of Trustees, detailing the original complaint and reasons why they remain unsatisfied after the CEO’s investigation. The Chair of Trustees writes to the complainant to acknowledge receipt within 10 working days.

The Chair of Trustees investigates the complaint by speaking with relevant parties and reviewing documents, and will make a decision.

The Chair of Trustees will write to the complainant to advise them of the outcome and any actions arising. 

The complainant has the right to be accompanied by a friend or family member at all meetings arising from their complaint.

4.4    Stage 4: Appeal to an Independent Body

The complainant makes a written appeal to the College of Mediators via the Chair of Trustees, detailing the original complaint and reasons why they remain unsatisfied after the Chair of Trustees’ investigation.

Complaints of this kind can only be made about the Mediator, a PPC Supervisor, or a Training Course Provider accredited by the College of Mediators. A complaint can only be made the the College once all other avenues of complaint have been exhausted. A full copy of the College’s Complaint Policy can be found here.

Confidential records of all complaints, their investigations and outcomes will be kept at Releasing Potential Head Office, 7 Kingscroft Court, Ridgway, Havant, PO9 1LS.



4.1          Purpose

4.2          Aims and objectives

4.3          Legal framework

4.4          Equality through service delivery

4.5          Equal Opportunities: A responsibility for us all

4.6          Equal Opportunities is about

4.7          Equal Opportunities is not about


4.1          Purpose

We are committed to promoting equality of opportunity in all aspects, as an employer and as a service provider. We recognise that individuals and groups can be unfairly discriminated against and acknowledge our responsibilities to eliminate discrimination, and any particular form of discrimination that is unlawful. Releasing Potential operates within a framework of fairness, openness, integrity and accountability.

  • All Releasing Potential’s policies and practices reflect a positive valuing of human difference and diversity.
  • Our curriculum, environment and staff development systems are set up to promote the positive valuing of human difference and diversity.
  • Releasing Potential was developed out of a Christian ethos and value system. We strive to respect the ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background of those who work at or are educated at Releasing Potential.
  • Releasing Potential is committed to providing equality of opportunity for the pupils and families with whom we work. We value and respect their diversity.
  • All staff and applicants for employment are entitled to equal opportunities in recruitment, training and promotion, irrespective of their racial or ethnic origins, gender, disability, sexuality and religious beliefs.
  • Releasing Potential ensures that all employees are aware of their responsibilities under this policy.


4.2          Objectives/Aims:

  • To ensure that all staff, young people, learners and associates are aware of the existence of the Policy, its Aims and Objectives, and their role in the implementation.To provide the necessary encouragement and guidance, advice and education, to all service users and learners. To satisfy existing and future validating bodies’ requirements with regard to   equal opportunity and diversity issues.Any instances of discriminatory behaviour are dealt with promptly and firmly. The views and opinions of learners and service users are ascertained and taken into account in respect of all issues and decisions likely to affect their daily life and in the future. The staff at Releasing Potential give a high priority to meeting the educational needs of each young person, and ensure that they are encouraged to attain their full potential. All learners are helped to develop the skills and knowledge and competence for successful transition to adult life.

4.3          Legal framework:

This Policy is underpinned by legislation, which places individual responsibilities on staff/service users/visitors as well as Releasing Potential, this includes:

  •   Human Rights Act 1998
  •   The Civil Partnership Act 2004
  •   The Gender Recognition Act 2004
  •   The Equality Act 2006
  •   Equality Act 2010

The above list is not exhaustive and will be reviewed regularly.

Under the above Equality legislation it is unlawful to:

  • discriminate directly against anyone and treat him/her less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have (perception discrimination), or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic (discrimination by association ).;
  • discriminate indirectly against anyone by applying a criterion, provision or practice which particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic;
  • subject someone to harassment related to a relevant protected characteristic (pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership are excluded);
  • victimise someone because s/he has made, or intends to make, a complaint or allegation or has given or intends to give evidence in relation to a complaint of discrimination;
  • discriminate against someone in certain circumstances because of a protected characteristic after the working relationship has ended.

The protected characteristics are:

  •  age
  •  disability
  •  gender
  •  gender reassignment
  •  marriage and civil partnership
  •  pregnancy and maternity
  •  race
  •  religion or belief
  •  sexual orientation

4.4          Equality through service delivery for learners

Releasing Potential ensures that everyone is treated fairly. All learners are given equal access to the service and its curriculum and all at Releasing Potential are considered equal in the learning partnership. When learners have special needs we make arrangements to  design specific programmes/ adjustments and inform them of this.

Releasing Potential is committed to providing a quality service for young people, which values diversity and promote equality. We take action to ensure that our services are equally accessible and appropriate. In order to achieve this we observe the following objectives/aims in service delivery.

4.5          Equal Opportunities – A Responsibility for Us All

All staff and young people have a personal responsibility to:

  • Value and respect others
  • Ensure no one is harassed, victimised or bullied in the learning environment
  • Promote a teaching and learning  environment where everyone feels confident to report
  • Incidents that are unfair and personally offensive
  • Treat equally and promote equality.

4.6          Equal Opportunities is about:

  • Treating everyone fairly without bias
  • Creating an environment free from harassment, victimisation and bullying
  • Encouraging, supporting and developing our own and others’ abilities to maximize our contribution to the organisation
  • Each of us understanding what is expected of us in terms of work performance, standards and behaviour.

4.7          Equal Opportunities is NOT about:


  • Ignoring or devaluing diversity by pretending that everyone is the same
  • Giving certain groups an unfair advantage


(NCFE controlled units/coursework)

Releasing Potential is committed to ensuring that whenever its staff mark candidates’ controlled assessments/coursework, it is done fairly, consistently and in accordance with the awarding body’s specification.

Candidates’ work will be marked by staff with appropriate knowledge, understanding and skill, who have been trained in this activity. Releasing Potential is committed to ensuring that work produced by candidates is authenticated in line with the requirements of the awarding body. Where more than one staff member is involved in marking candidates’ work, moderation and standardization will ensure consistency in marking.

If a candidate believes this may not have happened in relation to her/his work, s/he may make use of this appeals procedure.

NB: An appeal may only be made against the marking process, and not about the mark submitted to the awarding body.

  1. Appeals should be made as early as possible, and not later than 2 weeks before the External Verifier is due to attend the centre.
  2. Appeals must be made in writing to the CEO.
  3. The CEO will appoint a senior staff member to investigate the appeal. The senior member of staff will not have had any involvement in assessing the course.
  4. The purpose of the appeal will be to determine whether the process used for internal assessment conforms to the awarding body’s specification.
  5. The appellant will be informed in writing of the result of the appeal, including any relevant documentation from the awarding body and any changes made to internal procedures.
  6. The outcome of the appeal will be made known to the CEO and will be logged as a complaint. A written record will be kept and made available to the awarding body on request.

After candidates’ work is marked internally it is given to the awarding body to moderate to endure consistency in marking between centres. The moderation process may lead to mark changes, this process is out of the control of Releasing Potential, and is not covered by this policy.

The best parts of the course were learning the SEND context, identifying similarities and differences to other forms of mediation, role playing and live case studies – all parts were useful!

Kay Day

Family Mediator

There was no part of the course that I did not find very useful!

Olaf Baars

Civil & Commercial Mediator, Imperium Ltd

I found it fascinating to learn alongside other mediators from a range of specialisms, and invaluable to pick the brains of such a highly expert SEND Mediator. Thanks for a great course!

Rosie Compton

Employment, Community & Civil Mediator

Releasing Potential Mediation
7 Kingscroft Court
Charity No: 1097440
Company No: 4622100

07764 326384 (Mediation Helpline)