Complaints Procedure Policy

 

1. OVERVIEW

Introduction

Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 requires schools to have in place a procedure to deal with complaints relating to the school and any community facilities or services that the school provides. The law also requires the procedure to be publicised.

Dealing with Complaints – Initial concerns

The school will attempt to handle all concerns at the earliest opportunity and therefore avoid the need for formal procedures. The school believes that taking informal concerns seriously at the earliest stage will reduce the numbers that develop into formal complaints. The requirement to have a formal complaints policy does not undermine our efforts to resolve concerns informally if possible.

In most cases, the member of staff working directly with the student will receive the first approach and the school will equip staff to resolve issues on the spot wherever possible.

Dealing with Complaints – Formal procedures

The formal procedures will be invoked when initial attempts to resolve the issue are unsuccessful and the person raising the concerns remains dissatisfied and wishes to take the matter further. The school has nominated Chris Taylor - School Organisation Officer as the Complaints Coordinator who has the responsibility for the operation and management of this procedure. Complainants will be encouraged to state what actions they feel might resolve the problem at any stage.

Process (see flow chart)

Informal procedure

The relevant class teacher or other relevant member of staff will respond directly to the complainant and resolve the issue. The complainant will be informed in writing of the school action and if they are not satisfied, informed of how to proceed to the formal procedure.

Formal procedure – Stage 1

The complaint is submitted on the complaints pro-forma to the Head Teacher who will acknowledge receipt, investigate and provide a full written response. If unresolved;

Formal procedure – Stage 2

The complaint is submitted to the Chair of Governors who will acknowledge receipt, investigate and provide a full written response. If unresolved;

Formal procedure – Stage 3

The complaint is submitted to the Company secretary requesting that the complaint be heard by the Governor’s Complaints Panel. The Company Secretary will arrange a hearing and confirm the decision in writing. There is no further recourse to internal school procedures.

The Remit of the Complaints Panel

The Complaints panel will be independent and impartial and no governor will sit on the panel if they have had prior involvement in the complaint or in the circumstances surrounding it. The panel will include one member who is independent of the school. The remaining members will consist of a cross-section of the categories of governor and be sensitive to the issues of race, gender and religious affiliation. The panel will aim to resolve the complaint and achieve reconciliation between the school and the complainant. It has to be recognised that the complainant might not be satisfied with the outcome if the panel does not find in their favour. It may only be possible to establish the facts and make recommendations which will satisfy the complainant that his or her complaint has been taken seriously.

The panel can:

    • Dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
    • Uphold the complaint in whole or in part
    • Decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint
  • Recommend changes to the school’s systems or procedures to ensure that problems of a similar nature do not recur

Vexatious Complaints

There may be occasions when, despite all stages of the procedure having being followed, the complainant remains dissatisfied. If the complainant tries to re-open the same issue, the Chair of Governors is able to inform them in writing that the procedure has been followed and that the matter is now closed. (Refer to vexatious Complaints Policy)

Investigating Complaints

The Headteacher, Complaints Co-ordinator or nominated member of staff will:

    • Establish what has happened so far, and who has been involved
    • Clarify the nature of the complaint and what remains unresolved
    • Meet with the complainant or contact them to clarify or gain further information
    • Interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be accompanied if they wish
    • Conduct all interviews with an open mind
    • Keep notes of the interview and record the outcome
  • Provide a full written response to the complainant

Recording Complaints

The Complaints Coordinator will record the progress of complaints and the final outcome and ensure that the complainant and the school have the same understanding of what was discussed and agreed.

Governing Body Review of Complaints

The Governing Body will monitor the level and nature of complaints and review the outcomes on a termly basis to ensure the procedure is operating effectively.

Publicising the Procedure

This procedure will be available on the school’s website and published in the school brochure.

CONCERN OR COMPLAINT RECEIVED

                                                               ↓

                                                           

            INFORMAL PROCEDURE                  SCHOOL ACTION

Informal discussion with the relevant class teacher or other relevant member of staff usually resulting in resolution of the issue

If the complaint is about the Headteacher – proceed to Stage 2

The complainant is informed of the action to be taken to resolve the issue. If they are not satisfied they should be provided with a copy of the school’s complaints procedure and information on how to proceed to stage 1

                                                               ↓          

FORMAL PROCEDURE – STAGE 1                  SCHOOL ACTION

The complaint is submitted in writing to the Headteacher

The Headteacher acknowledges receipt within 5 school days and provides a full written response within 15 full days. Information will be provided to the complainant on how to proceed to stage 2 if not satisfied

                                                                        

FORMAL PROCEDURE – STAGE 2                 SCHOOL ACTION
The complaint is submitted in writing to the Company Secretary for the attention of the Chair of Governors The Chair acknowledges receipt within 5 school days and provides a full written response within 15 days. Information will be provided to the complainant on how to proceed to stage 3 if not satisfied

                                                                        

FORMAL PROCEDURE – STAGE 3               SCHOOL ACTION

The complaint is submitted in writing to the Company Secretary requesting that the complaint be heard by the Governors Complaints panel. This panel will have one member who is independent of the school.

The Company Secretary convenes a meeting of the Complaints Panel to meet within 25 school days from receipt of the written complaint. The Company Secretary informs the complainant of the findings in writing within 5 school days of the meeting. The complainant may progress the complaint to the Secretary of State and Local Government Ombudsman if not satisfied

                       

      THE COMPLAINANT HAS NO FURTHER RECOURSE TO INTERNAL SCHOOL      

                                                      PROCEDURES



Complaints Form                                   

      

Go to top