Most parents and carers have a positive relationship with schools, but sometimes a problem may arise. Governing Bodies of schools are required by law under the Education Act 2002 (Section 29) to establish a procedure which deals with complaints. This procedure will be used by the School’s Governing Body and the Senior Leadership Team when dealing with general complaints; it is for parents, carers and members of the public to use to raise informal and formal complaints with the school and the Governing Body. All complainants will be treated seriously and courteously and given the time they need to be heard. It is important that complainants have confidence in the procedure and know that their concerns and complaints will be investigated fully and impartially.
All parties need to be clear about the difference between a concern and a complaint. Concerns should be handled if at all possible, without the need for formal procedures. In most cases, the class teacher will receive the first approach and may be able to resolve an issue immediately. The existence of a complaints procedure should not be seen as a way of undermining efforts to resolve a concern informally.
The formal complaints procedure will need to be used where initial attempts to resolve the issue have been unsuccessful and the person raising the issue remains dissatisfied and wishes to take the matter further.
The procedure is for everyone (parents, carers and members of the public) to use to raise informal and formal general comments or complaints with the school and the Governing Body. Complainants will be treated seriously and courteously and given the time they need to be heard. It is important that complainants have confidence in the procedure and know that their concerns and complaints will be investigated fully and impartially.
If a complainant needs some kind of support in order to raise a concern or complaint, then every effort should be made to ensure this is available to enable them to fully participate in the process. (This could include provision of a translation of the procedure, provision of an interpreter etc.)
This procedure does not cover complaints that relate to the matters outlined below, for which there are separate arrangements. Where a complaint is made and subsequently found to fall within the following categories, it will be investigated in accordance with the appropriate procedures, and the complainant will be notified accordingly:
Child protection issues; SEND and appeals to SEND tribunals; the curriculum, collective worship or RE; temporary disapplication of the National Curriculum; school admissions and admission appeals; staff disciplinary and grievance matters
The procedure for handling complaints is intended to:-
- be easily accessible and well publicised
- be simple to understand and use
- encourage resolution of problems by informal means, wherever possible
- be impartial and non-adversarial
- allow swift handling with established time-limits for action and keeping people informed of the progress
- ensure a full and fair investigation
- respect individuals’ desire for confidentiality
- address the key issues raised, provide an effective response and appropriate action
- be used by staff and governors consistently, appropriately and confidently.
- require written records of all meetings that take place in relation to both concerns and complaints
- provide information to the school’s senior leadership team so that services can be improved