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Complaint Procedures

Please find below a copy of our complaints procedures.

As a school we will always try to resolve any issues you have. Please contact the school office to make an appointment to discuss your concerns

 

 Introduction

Most parents have positive relations with schools but on occasions things may go wrong. The

guidance in this document aims to make sure that the interests of pupils, parents and school staff are taken into account when dealing with complaints.

Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 states that the Governing Body of a maintained school shall establish procedures for dealing with all complaints relating to the school, other than those to be dealt with in accordance with any other statutory provision.

Whether you are a parent or a member of the public the place to start is the school. It is much better if matters can be sorted out within school even if this might feel awkward in the beginning. There is usually more than one side to any dispute or misunderstanding and it is important that all the facts are known so that the best solution can be found.

In the majority of cases, Headteachers and/or school governors are responsible for investigating complaints about their services or staff.  Initial complaints regarding school should be directed to the class teacher. If you are not satisfied with the response, complaints should be raised with the Headteacher. If the complaint is regarding the Headteacher, then complaints should be raised with the Chair of Governors.

The complaints procedure is divided into 3 stages;

 Stage 1-Initial Contact with the School

Many concerns will be dealt with informally when you make them known to the school. The first point of contact should be your child's form teacher for primary schools or via the compliments/concerns form that is available from the school office or foyer.

 

The school may request that you make an appointment, as this will ensure they can listen to your concerns fully and allocate an appropriate amount of time.

 

Any actions or monitoring of the situation that has been agreed will be communicated clearly and we will confirm this in writing to you.

If necessary we will contact appropriate people who may be able to assist us with our enquiries into your concern.

We will normally update you on the progress of your enquiry within 10 school days. Once we have responded to your concern, you will have the opportunity of asking for the matter to be considered further.

Occasionally these discussions do not always resolve the concern, and if you are still dissatisfied your concern will become a formal complaint

Stage 2- Formal Consideration of your Complaint

You will be asked to confirm the complaint in writing to the Headteacher and it will be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days. We will include a copy of these procedures with the acknowledgement.

As part of the school's consideration of your complaint, you may be invited to a meeting to discuss the complaint and raise any further details. If you wish, you can ask someone to accompany you to help you explain the reasons for your complaint.

The Headteacher will, where necessary, talk to witnesses and take statements from others involved.

If the complaint centers on a pupil the school will talk to the pupil concerned and, where appropriate, others present at the time of the incident in question. The school will normally talk to pupils with a parent or carer present.

If the complaint is against a member of staff, it will be dealt with under the school's internal confidential procedures following LA procedures.

The Headteacher will keep written/typed, signed and dated records of all meetings and telephone conversations, and other related documentation.

Once the school has established all the relevant facts, they will send you a written response to your complaint within 15 working days. This will give a full explanation of the Headteacher's and the reasons for it.  If follow-up action is needed the school will indicate what they are proposing to do.

Stage 3 - Consideration by the Governing Body

If your concern has already been through Stages 1 and 2 and you are not happy with the outcome, the next step is to make a formal complaint to the Governing Body.

You should contact the school's Chair of Governors by letter enclosing a copy of the written complaint originally submitted, indicating which matters remain unresolved. No new complaint may be included. Letters should be sent to Chair of Governors c/o WISE Governance Services, WISE Academies, Borodin Avenue, Sunderland SR5 4NX.

The Chair of Governors then arranges a complaint review panel if he/she feels it would be helpful in resolving the complaint. This will be within 20 school days.

The aim of a complaints review panel is to resolve the complaint and to achieve reconciliation between the school and the parent(s). However, it may sometimes only be possible to establish facts and make recommendations, which will reassure you that your complaint has been taken seriously.

The format of such a meeting would be for you to attend to present your case and allow the Governing Body to take evidence. The Headteacher would also present any evidence, and the complaints review panel would consider the complaint.

Should the Governing Body agree to hold a complaint review meeting, you will be informed of the date, time and place of the meeting by letter. This will be at least 5 days in advance of the meeting. The letter will also explain what will happen at the meeting and inform you that you are entitled to be accompanied to the meeting. With agreement of the Chair of the Panel, the Headteacher may invite members of staff directly involved in matters raised by you to attend their meeting.

As a general rule, no evidence or witnesses previously undisclosed should be introduced into the meetings by any of the participants.

The Clerk will send you and the Headteacher a written statement outlining the decision of the panel within two weeks.

Escalation of School Complaints/ Closure of Complaints Following Stage 3

The Governing Body's decision will usually be final in the majority of cases, unless your complaint relates to issues for which there are separate arrangements laid down by law, there is no right of formal complaint to the Local Authority.

Very occasionally, a school and/or the LA will feel that it needs, regretfully, to close a complaint where the complainant is still dissatisfied.

If the LA receives an anonymous complaint, the details will be passed to the school, but it will be at the school's discretion if this is investigated. N.B. This will not apply in relation to issues connected to child protection.

If the complainant feels that the school has or is proposing to act unreasonably, or has failed to discharge a duty under certain legislation they can contact the Secretary of State for Education

Further details are available from Children's Services Complaints & Feedback Manager on 0191 561 1276 or the DfE website www.education.gov.uk, telephone 0370 000 2288 or by writing to the address below:

The School Complaints Unit (SCU)

Department for Education

Piccadilly Gate

Store Street

Manchester

M1 2WD

We would advise that, unless the school and/or LA is shown to have behaved unreasonably or not to have followed their own procedures, there is likely to be little further action that can be taken. This is because Governing Bodies are empowered to deal with many issues without reference to either the LA or the Secretary of State.

If you contact the LA without first having gone through the above procedures, you will be referred back to the school in the first instance and follow its procedures.

What is not covered by this Policy?

The guidance in this document does not cover concerns about the following, for which there are separate arrangements laid down by law:

  • The school curriculum, sex education, collective worship and religious education and the provision of information required by law
  • Appeals about admissions
  • Appeals about exclusions
  • Appeals about assessments and statements of special educational needs

Information about the above procedures is available from customer services by telephoning

0191 5611296.

Hate incidents are also subject to statutory procedures. There is a duty for the LA to monitor hate incidents, bullying and prejudice based incidents. School must keep records for any complaints regarding race, gender, disability, faith and sexual orientation.

Serial or Persistent Complaints 

The Headteacher and Governing Body are fully committed to the improvement of the school. They welcome feedback from parents/carers and will always try to resolve any concerns as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, however, parents or carers pursuing complaints or other issues treat staff and others in a way that is unacceptable. Whilst it is recognised that some complaints may relate to serious and distressing incidents, the school will not accept threatening or harassing behaviour towards any members of the school community.

An unreasonably persistent complainant may be anyone who engages in unreasonable behaviour when making a complaint. This will include persons who pursue complaints in an unreasonable manner.

Unreasonable behaviour may include actions that are:-

  • out of proportion to the nature of the complaint, or
  • persistent – even when the complaints procedure has been exhausted, or
  • personally harassing, or
  • unjustifiably repetitious
  • an insistence on pursuing unjustified complaints and/or unrealistic outcomes to justified complaints
  • an insistence on pursuing justifiable complaints in an unreasonable manner (e.g. using

    abusive or threatening language; or making complaints in public; or refusing to attend appointments to discuss the complaint.                            

If the complainant behaves unreasonable as outlined above the Chair of the Governing Body will write to the complaint explaining that the complaint has been through all the stages of the procedure, is now exhausted and the case is now closed.

External Investigator

Where a complaint is particularly complex the Governing Body may engage an external investigator as an alternative to (or to assist) the Headteacher or the Chair of Governors investigating the case.

Allegations Against a Member of Staff

Any allegations against staff are to be reported to the Headteacher or Deputy in her absence. Allegations against the Headteacher are reportable to the Chair of Governors. These complaints are then reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer- Danielle Rose (LADO)  on 5612250 for investigatio

 

Appendix 1- School complaints recording form

 

Complaints/Feedback Form

 

Personal Details

Name

 

Address

 

 

Postcode

 

Daytime telephone

 

Evening telephone

 

Name of child(ren)

 

Relationship to the school

 

 

Please give details of your complaint:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What action, if any, have you already taken to try and resolve your complaint? Who did you speak to, when and what was the response?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What actions do you feel might resolve the problem at this stage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signature

 

Date

 

 

 

 

Official Use

Date of acknowledgement

 

By whom

 

Complaint referred to