About ASN Mediation
How does it work?
Referral to Common Ground Mediation is open to everyone and contact can be made by telephone, letter or e-mail. These initial conversations help to clarify what the dispute is about and whether mediation may be helpful. It’s good practice for schools and/or local authorities to resolve difficulties at a local level, so before considering independent mediation people are encouraged to reflect on what’s been tried already.
Once a referral has been made to Common Ground Mediation, a mediator will contact all the participants to talk things through and find out if everyone is in agreement to use mediation.
Private first meetings will be set up with everyone who will participate in the mediation. These each generally last between one and two hours, and take place in a place that’s convenient for the participants. Often the mediator meets parents and their child, if appropriate, at their home. Meetings with teachers and education officers usually take place in school or in council offices. These first meetings are an opportunity to decide on the key points for discussion at mediation.
What happens next?
Once everyone is ready and agreeable to moving forward, the mediator will arrange a joint meeting to bring all the participants together to talk openly about the situation, explore what options are available and look for solutions. A mediation session typically lasts between one and two hours and takes place in a neutral venue that’s convenient and comfortable for everyone.
At the end of the meeting the mediator will summarise what has been said and then help everyone to consider solutions that seem reasonable, manageable and sustainable. Agreements may or may not be reached, but whatever the outcome a written account will be given to all participants in due course.
Sometimes participants agree that a further meeting will be helpful, with or without the help of a mediator.
Mediation is a flexible process aiming to meet everyone’s requirements in the best way possible, and sometimes mediators work in pairs as ‘co-mediators’, particularly when there are more than two disputing people.
Common Ground Mediation follows up the mediation agreement and process after three months.