Mediation within schools
When a dispute arises for instance between a parent and a school, a Mediator is a popular route to attempt to resolve the issues. A long term working relationship is highly desirable and Mediation is a useful tool in these kind of situations. Other workplace issues arise within the school itself this is dealt with under the workplace Mediation section of the website.Usually a parent or parents enter the Mediation with a member or members of the school sometimes a teacher, headmaster, headmistress or an SNA (Special Needs Assistant.) The aim is to find a resolution which works for everyone.
The mediator will help the clients
- Isolate the disputed issues.
- Discuss the options open to the parties.
- Develop and explore the options and potential consequences for same.
- Deal with any imbalance of power between the parties
- Draft and agreement if one is reached.
Issues that arise and are Mediated upon include:
- Disputes as to the manner in which a child is being educated,
- Disputes about discipline that a child received,
- Disputes arising from issues that arose between pupils that has become more complicated for example allegations of bullying being made,
- Poor school attendance,
- Religious education of children,
- Children with additional needs and how those needs are dealt with.I deal with this subject further in the next paragraph.
It is more common for disputes to arise where a child has additional needs for instance complicated medical needs and those on the autistic spectrum relating to how those are catered for. Some medical conditions for instance Cystic Fibrosis, or auto immune conditions that involve immune suppressant drugs require the school to administer supplements, medication and to ensure that the child is not exposed to certain types of bacteria. This is complicated and disputes arise with parents if they feel that their child is not receiving the care that they need during school.
Children who need additional time from an educational perspective including those on the Autistic Spectrum need additional assistance from SNA or Special Needs Assistance and the teaching staff and issues arise as to how that is administered.
Secondary School Issues
Secondary schools can have additional issues that primary schools do not have. These include issues such as suspensions for issues such as smoking, drinking, poor school attendance, technology use or inappropriate behavior between teenagers. Issues arising from the manner the issue was handled in the school are regularly Mediated on. Streaming into higher and lower levels in subjects for the junior and leaving certificate can also become an issue in secondary school. Other teenage issues which arise are respect towards staff and discipline for perceived lack of respectfulness. Teenagers on the autistic spectrum present additional challenges for the SNA or Special Needs Assistance and teaching staff in a school and issues can arise as to how best to manage these situations.