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Complaints Policy and Procedures

 

Dunham on Trent CE Primary School

Complaints Policy & Procedure

                                                    

Aims:

 

As a Church of England School we aim to promote Christian values in all our dealings.  We aim to make our school a happy, safe and caring place so that pupils benefit from the best possible education. All of our staff, both teaching and non-teaching, are dedicated to this aim. If you think we are not living up to your expectations of us we want to know about it so that we may have the opportunity to put things right.  Our aim is to solve any concern through dialogue and mutual understanding and in all cases the interests of the child are paramount.

 

Principles:

  • There is a difference between a concern and a complaint.
  • By handling informal concerns seriously at the earliest stage, formal complaints can be reduced.
  • Concerns and complaints will be dealt with openly, fairly, promptly and without prejudice.
  • All parties should seek the resolution of concerns and complaints by informal means wherever possible
  • Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained by all involved in the process.

 

Introduction:

 

This policy and procedure outlines the stages for dealing with concerns and complaints and is based on the DfE’s School Complaints Procedure  2014.  All of the school's policies, actions and practices, explicitly reinforce our total commitment to equal opportunities for all.

 

1 If you have a concern about anything to do with the education that we are providing, speak to your child’s class teacher. Most matters of concern can be dealt with this way.  All teachers work hard to ensure that each child is happy in school, and is making good progress; they want to know if there is a problem so that they can take action before the child’s progress is affected. The teacher will either take action, or work with appropriate colleagues to resolve the concern.

 

2 If the teacher is the subject of your concern or you feel that the situation has not been resolved by approaching the child’s teacher, you should make an appointment to discuss the matter with the head teacher.

 

3 If your concern has not been resolved by the Head Teacher, you may request an informal meeting to discuss the matter with the Chair of Governors.

 

4 If your concern is about the head teacher or the conduct of a governor you should first make an informal approach to the Chair of Governors, who will try to resolve the issue through dialogue with the school.

 

Most concerns are resolved by this stage.

 

4 If you are still not satisfied, you should make an approach in writing (see Annex A for details of the information to include in your letter) to the Chair of Governors, who will convene a meeting of the School’s Complaints Committee within 15 working days of receipt of your letter.  This committee will be made up of three governors who have not had any previous involvement with your complaint. A clerk will be present to record the proceedings. You will be invited to attend the meeting to put your case. The head teacher and, where appropriate, Chair of Governors will also attend to explain what they have done to investigate and resolve your concerns.  After listening to all parties and coming to its conclusion the committee will give a decision in writing within 48 hours of the hearing. See Annexes C and D.

 

5 If you are still not satisfied then you may complain to the Secretary of State for Education by writing to The School Complaints Unit (SCU) at:

Department for Education, 2nd Floor, Piccadilly Gate, Manchester M1 2WD

 

 

Monitoring and Review

 

  1. The governors monitor the complaints policy and procedure annually in order to ensure that all complaints are handled properly.  Formal complaints received by the school are logged. Governors will examine this log. The resolution of the complaint is recorded.
  2. Governors take into account any local or national decisions that affect the school’s complaints process and make modifications necessary to this policy.  This policy is made available to all parents and carers, so that they can be properly informed about the school’s complaints process.
  3. The monitoring and review of complaints by the school and governing body will be used in evaluating the school’s performance and identifying underlying issues that may need to be addressed.

 

Legal Context - See Annex B

 

Annex A

 

Dunham on Trent CE Primary School

Complaints Form

 

 

Please complete and return to:

Mrs Liz Bakewell (Chair of Governors),

Dunham on Trent CE Primary School, Laneham Road, Dunham on Trent, Newark, Notts. NG22 0UL

who will acknowledge receipt and explain what action will be taken.

 

Your name:

 

Pupil’s name:

 

Your relationship to the pupil:

 

Address:

 

 

 

Postcode:

Day time telephone number:

Evening telephone number:

 

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 and what was the response)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you attaching any paperwork? If so, please give details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signature:

 

 

Date:

 

 

Official use

 

Date acknowledgement sent:

 

 

By who:

 

 

 

 

Complaint referred to:

 

Date:

 

 

 

 

Annex B - The Act

 

Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 requires that:

 

(1)      The governing body of a maintained school in England shall –

 

(a)      establish procedures for dealing with all complaints relating to the school or to the provision of facilities or services under section 27, other than complaints falling to be dealt with in accordance with any procedures required to be established in relation to the school by virtue of a statutory provision other than this section, and

 

(b)     publicise the procedures so established.

 

(2)      In establishing or publicising procedures under subsection (1), the governing body shall have regard to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.

 

Section 39 of the Education Act 2002 provides the following:

 

“maintained school” means a community, foundation or voluntary school, a community or foundation special school or a maintained nursery school;

 

“maintained nursery school” means a nursery school which is maintained by a local education authority and is not a special school;

 

 

Annex C

 

What happens at a Panel Hearing

 

•        Although the panel will follow formal procedures, the hearing is as informal as possible.

•        Witnesses are only required to attend for the part of the hearing in which they give their evidence.

•        After introductions, the complainant is invited to explain their complaint, and be followed by their witnesses.

•        The headteacher may question both the complainant and the witnesses after each has spoken.

•        The headteacher is then invited to explain the school’s actions and be followed by the school’s witnesses.

•        The complainant may question both the headteacher and the witnesses after each has spoken.

•        The panel may ask questions at any point.

•        The complainant is then invited to sum up their complaint.

•        The headteacher is then invited to sum up the school’s actions and response to the complaint.

•        Both parties leave together while the panel decides on the issues.

•        The chair explains that both parties will hear from the panel within 48 hours of the hearing.

 

Annex D

 

The Role of the Chair of the Panel

 

 

The Chair of the Panel has a key role, ensuring that:

 

•        the remit of the panel is explained to the parties and each party has the opportunity of putting their case without undue interruption;

•        the issues are addressed;

•        key findings of fact are made;

•        parents and others who may not be used to speaking at such a hearing are put at ease;

•        the hearing is conducted in an informal manner with each party treating the other with respect and courtesy;

•        the panel is open minded and acting independently; 

•        no member of the panel has a vested interest in the outcome of the proceedings or any involvement in an earlier stage of the procedure; each side is given the opportunity to state their case and ask questions;

•        written material is seen by all parties. If a new issue arises it would be useful to give all parties the opportunity to consider and comment on it.

 

Notification of the Panel’s Decision

 

The chair of the panel needs to ensure that the complainant is notified of the panel’s decision, in writing, with the panel’s response; this is usually within a set deadline which is publicised in the procedure. The letter needs to explain if there are any further rights of appeal and, if so, to whom they need to be addressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex E

 

Summary for Dealing with Complaints

Stage 1 –   Concern heard by staff member

  • Ensure headteacher informed of outcome

If not resolved, then escalate to Stage 2 –Complaint heard by headteacher

  • Acknowledge receipt of complaint
  • Write to complainant with outcome of investigation
  • Offer escalation to Stage 3 if dissatisfied

If not resolved, then escalate to Stage 3 - Complaint heard by Chair of Governors

  • Acknowledge receipt of complaint
  • Write to complainant with outcome of investigation
  • Ensure headteacher informed of outcome
  • Offer escalation to Stage 4 if dissatisfied

If not resolved, then escalate to Stage 4 – Governor’s complaints panel meeting arranged

  • Issue letter inviting complainant to meeting
  • Issue letter confirming panel decision
  • Advise of escalation routes to the Secretary of State for Education

 

 

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