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Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS), Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the DARS?

 

When did this service come into operation? 

When would a parent/guardian be likely to require or consider using this service?

 

Can a parent/guardian make a referral to the DARS?

 

When a referral is made to the DARS will the other parties involved be informed?

 

What would happen if one of the parties did not agree to participate in the DARS process?

 

When all the parties agree to be involved in the process, who will make the final decision about any agreement?

 

If Parents/Guardians become involved in the DARS process, will this affect their right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (Tribunal)?

 

Will the DARS assist with matters relating to other problems that Parents/Guardians may experience with their child at school?

 

Does the DARS service operate in each of the Education and Library Boards?

 

Where would meetings with the DARS team take place?

 

What is the purpose of the DARS?

 

The purpose of the DARS service is to provide an independent, confidential and informal route through which disagreements related to Special Educational Needs and provision may be avoided or resolved.

 

When did this service come into operation?

 

The service came into operation on the 1st September 2005 as a result of the implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Order (Northern Ireland) 2005 (SENDO). This Order required Boards to put arrangements in place with a view to avoiding or resolving disputes between Parents and Education and Library Boards and Schools.

 

When would a parent/guardian be likely to require or consider using this service?

 

Parents/guardians would be most likely to require this service when there is a disagreement in relation to the Special Educational Needs and/or provision being made for a child or young person. In practice, whether that disagreement is with a child’s school or the Education and Library Board, in the first instance an attempt should be made to resolve any areas of difficulty or disagreement with the school or Education and Library Board. If, after all reasonable efforts to explore common ground have been made, and the parents/guardians remain dissatisfied then they may wish to contact the DARS service. 
 

Can a parent/guardian make a referral to the DARS?

 

Yes. A Parent/Guardian may make a referral to the DARS. In the first instance, contact should be made with:

Oliver Sherry, DARS Manager
Southern Education and Library Board
3 Charlemont Place
The Mall, Armagh, BT61 9AX
Telephone: 028 3751 2383
E-mail: oliver.sherry@selb.org

When a referral is made to the DARS will the other parties involved be informed?

 

Yes. The school or the Education and Library Board will be invited to take part in the DARS process.

 

What would happen if one of the parties did not agree to participate in the DARS process?

 

Making use of the DARS is voluntary, therefore if one of the parties does not agree to take part in the process it will not be possible to progress further.

 

When all the parties agree to be involved in the process, who will make the final decision about any agreement?

 

It will be the responsibility of the parties who are in disagreement to come to a resolution. Only those involved in the dispute have the authority to make decisions about the final outcome. The DARS team will facilitate contact and meetings between all parties and will provide a summary statement of the outcome.

 

If Parents/Guardians become involved in the DARS process, will this affect their right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (Tribunal)?

 

No. Any involvement with the DARS will not affect their right of appeal to the Tribunal.

 

Will the DARS assist with matters relating to other problems that Parents/Guardians may experience with their child at school?

 

No. The DARS service will only be involved in issues relating to a child’s Special Educational Needs.

 

Does the DARS service operate in each of the Education and Library Boards?

 

Yes. The DARS is a cross-Board service that operates throughout Northern Ireland. In addition to a regional Manager there is a DARS Officer based within each Education and Library Board area. Whilst DARS Officers are located across the Education and Library Boards the DARS service is independent of the Special Educational Needs branches within the Boards.

 

Where would meetings with the DARS team take place?

 

Meetings will be held at neutral venues, agreed in advance.

 

 

Further information about the DARS service can be found in the Supplement to the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (paragraphs 4.33 – 4.46).

 

Related Documents

 

  • pdf
  • DE - Supplement to the Code of Practice (.pdf) [pdf / 256KB] On the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. From 1st September 2005 the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (SENDO) makes changes to the existing legislation, as contained in the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). In addition, new Regulations have been made to support the changes contained within the SENDO.
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