We believe that our school provides a good education for all our children, and that the headteacher and other staff work very hard to build positive relationships with all parents. However, the school is obliged to have procedures in place in case there are complaints by parents. Section 29 of the Education Act requires every maintained school to establish a procedure for dealing with complaints relating to school. The following policy sets out the procedure that the school follows in such cases.
- Aims and objectives
Our school aims to be fair, open and honest when dealing with any complaint. We give careful consideration to all complaints and deal with them as swiftly as possible. We aim to resolve any complaint through dialogue and mutual understanding and, in all cases, we put the interests of the child above all other issues. We provide sufficient opportunity for any complaint to be fully discussed, and then resolved.
- The complaints process
If a parent is concerned about anything to do with the education that we are providing at our school, they should, in the first instance, discuss the matter with their child’s class teacher. Most matters of concern can be dealt with in this way. All teachers work very hard to ensure that each child is happy at school, and is making good progress; they always want to know if there is a problem, so that they can take action before the problem seriously affects the child’s progress.
Every effort will be made to resolve a complaint informally without the need to invoke the formal complaints procedure.
What to do if the matter is not resolved through informal discussion
Where a parent feels that a situation has not been resolved through contact with the class teacher, or that their concern is of a sufficiently serious nature, they should make an appointment to discuss it with the headteacher. The headteacher considers any such complaint very seriously and investigates each case thoroughly. Most complaints are normally resolved at this stage. Decision on any action to be taken as a result of the complaint and the response should come from the headteacher.
How to take the matter further
- The complainant needs to write to the Chair of the Board of Governors giving full details of the complaint and the reason why he/she remains dissatisfied with previous attempts to resolve the complaint.
- The Chair of Governors may investigate the matter to consider the evidence and if necessary, the Chair or nominated governor will then convene a Governing Body complaints panel. This should consist of 3 to 5 governors and should not include all of the schools governors.
- One of the governors should be appointed as the Chair of the Complaints Panel. This does not necessarily have to be the Chair of the Board of Governors.
- The role of the Chair should include:
- o Ensuring that the correct process has been followed
- o The remit of the panel is explained to each party at the beginning of the proceedings.
- o That all issues are addressed.
- o Ensure complainants are put at ease.
- o Ensure that the hearing is conducted informally and with respect
- o The panel is open minded.
- o No panel member has had any previous involvement in the complaint.
- o All parties are given the opportunity to see written documentation and to comment on it.
- o The Chair should also ensure that the complainant is informed of the Panel’s decision in writing within 15 days of the Panel hearing. The letter should inform the complainant of their right of appeal should they remain dissatisfied (i.e. Local Authority or The Secretary of State for Education).
- None of the governors on the panel should have had any prior involvement in the complaint.
- The panel hearing should be held in private with an aim of resolving the complaint.
- The complaints Panel should aim to reach an outcome and agree on appropriate action to be taken.
Escalation of the complaint following Stage 3
If a complainant remains dissatisfied following Stage 3 they should be advised of their right to escalate the complaint to the following:
Local Authority- they may consider complaints in relation to school admissions, transport, special educational needs, exclusions, R.E. and home tuition.
Secretary of State for Education- If a complainant feels that a school is acting unreasonably or has failed to discharge a duty under certain legislation they can contact the Secretary of State for Education.
- Monitoring and review
The governors monitor the complaints procedure, in order to ensure that all complaints are handled properly. The headteacher logs all complaints received by the school and records how they were resolved. Governors examine this log on an annual basis.
Governors take into account any local or national decisions that affect the complaints process, and make any modifications necessary to this policy. This policy is made available to all parents, so that they can be properly informed about the complaints process.