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Mediation and advocacy to resolve disputes in the education sector

EDUCATION ADVOCACY


What is education advocacy?


Education advocacy is the variety of ways an independent, trained professional helps and / or represents people unable to resolve an issue themselves in the education sector. Advocacy means representing, actively supporting, and getting others to support an individual, group or organisation in order to bring about a good outcome for the person or people involved.



What does an education advocate do?


An education advocate provides assistance and representation for a person in dispute or with an unresolved issue within the education sector. This means:

  • Speaking to the person to gain a clear understanding of the dispute, situation or issue.

  • Putting together a clear oral or written account of the individual’s concerns or situation. This is done by carrying out research and data collection, listening to the person’s concerns, extracting key parts, and synthesising them into a clear, communicable account.

  • Contacting the other party on behalf of the individual(s) and getting whatever information is available or required

  • Making a case in favour of the individual, group or organisation, using key questioning and persuasion in order to clarify options and to establish potential solutions,

  • Liaising between the individual and the organisation or whomever else is necessary.




Who is education advocacy for?


Education advocacy is for anyone involved in a dispute or conflict or who has an unresolved issue in the education sector who wants or needs somebody to speak for them; to communicate on their behalf with the other party in the dispute; or to help them to represent themselves.

This includes:

teachers, lecturers, researchers, students, parents, managers, administrators, assistants, board members, evaluators, examiners, ancillary and support staff in schools, colleges, universities, pre-schools, education institutes, education offices.



What is the difference between education mediation and education advocacy?


In education mediation, the mediator is neutral and works to find the best solutions for both parties by exploring obvious and creative options that might resolve the dispute. In education advocacy, the mediator represents one person in the dispute, presents their view, explains the issues that have arisen for them, and works in their interests. While the education advocate will seek to identify outcomes that are good for everyone involved, their main concern is the interests of the person they represent.

Advocacy is sometimes called biased mediation, as it involves representing someone, speaking for them, and helping to find positive outcomes for that person. Usually individuals (rather than organisations) need advocacy; organisations usually have structures, offices and employees to represent the organisation.



Why education advocacy?


When people are in dispute they may not know where to turn for information, support, or resolution. Sometimes people are so upset by what is happening that they do not feel able to represent themselves. At other times, people may not have access to the best or all sources of information, and when they do, they may not know how to extract the information they need. Education advocacy can help in all these situations by collecting, analysing and explaining information and by helping people to find a resolution to the problem they are experiencing.

As a trained mediator with an in-depth knowledge of the education system and who has extensive research expertise, I am used to collecting information, analysing it and explaining it. I can help people to negotiate their way through an issue or dispute anywhere in the education system.



How much does education advocacy cost?


educationmediation.ie provides affordable, professional advocacy for people in the education sector. The initial consultation of education advocacy is free. During this consultation, I will help you to decide whether education advocacy will work for you and agree a fee with you to help you resolve your dispute.