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Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS)

Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS)


The Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS) came into effect on the 1st of September 2005 as part of the implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Order (SENDO). 


Disagreements sometimes arise between a parent/guardian and either a school or the Education Authority in relation to the Special Educational Provision being made for a child or young person. If initial attempts to resolve such disagreements have not been successful, it may be appropriate to make a referral to the DARS.

The purpose of the service is to provide within an independent, confidential and informal forum further opportunities through which disagreements may be more fully addressed.


Participation is voluntary and when points of disagreement have been clearly identified the challenge is to plot a way forward that all parties are prepared to accept.

Whilst members of the DARS team will facilitate the possible resolution of disagreements, they do not have the authority to impose outcomes.  Ultimately agreement can only be reached with the approval of interested parties.


Potential service users should note that, in order to access the DARS, the child or young person at the centre of a dispute must already be on the Code of Practice.

Contact Details

The DARS central office is located in Armagh and those intending to engage with the service should do so, in the first instance, by telephone: 028 3751 2383.

Other telephone numbers:   028 3831 4465     028 7186 3520


For further information see - Article 5, Resolution of Disputes (pages 25-29) in the attached Supplement to the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs – 1 September 2005.


The Education and Library Boards (ELBs) were dissolved on 31 March 2015. The Education Authority was established on 01 April 2015 and is now responsible for all of the operational functions previously carried out by the five ELBs in accordance with the Education Orders.

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