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COMPLAINTS

 Britannia Village Primary School

Complaints Procedure

 

The 4 stages of the Complaints Procedure are as follows:-

 

Stage1 – Informal

 

In the majority of cases a concern can and should be resolved by contacting the relevant member of staff ie the class teacher, or other designated member of staff directly involved with the reported problem

 

The initial communication from the complainant to the member of staff may be by letter, telephone or in person by appointment, but it must be clearly stated that an official complaint/concern is being lodged. The complainant must then allow the designated staff member at least 5 days to respond to the concern.

 

If this does not lead to a resolution of the problem then the concern/complaint must be referred to the next stage of the process which is the commencement of the formal process.

 

Stage 2 – Formal

 

The complaint is heard by the Head Teacher

 

If complainant is still dissatisfied with the response from the member of staff at Stage 1 they should put their complaint/concern into writing to the Head Teacher.

 

If the Head Teacher is the subject of the complaint, this should be addressed to the Chair of Governors – this will bypass Stage 2 and move to Stage 3 of the formal procedure and be heard by the Chair of Governors.

 

The complaint must include details of why they are still dissatisfied and what action they would like to resolve the complaint. Any evidence which supports their concern/complaint should be attached.

 

The Head Teacher must be acknowledged within 5 days in writing to the complainant. The acknowledgement should state a further communication will follow within 20 school days and what actions have been taken to investigate the complaint with the outcome.

 

The Head Teacher can delegate another senior member of staff to carry out the investigation and report their findings to them. The Head Teacher will then reach a conclusion based on this investigation. All notes relating to the investigation should be kept on file. The investigating officer may feel it necessary to meet with the complainant. If this happens, then notes should be produced from the meeting.

 

The investigating officer will then compile a report detailing their findings. Any recommendations or actions proposed must be considered by the Head Teacher.

 

Once satisfied that the investigation has been concluded and a decision has been reached, the Head Teacher must notify the complainant in writing of the conclusion and any actions that will be taken as a result. The decision can be communicated by the Head Teacher to the complainant in writing or, if they may feel it appropriate, meet with them first to communicate their findings and then confirm in writing afterwards.

 

Model letters are available on request from the office.

 

The complainant must also be informed if they are still dissatisfied with the outcome they can write to the Chair of Governors outlining why they are still unhappy.

 

Stage 3 – Formal (if not resolved at stage 2)

The Chair of Governors must write to the complainant within 5 days of receipt of the complaint to acknowledge this. The letter should state that another letter will follow within 20 school days setting out the actions taken to investigate the complaint and the findings.

 

The Chair of Governors will look at all the information pertaining to the complaint submitted by the complainant and the investigatory evidence by the school at Stages 1 and 2. The Chair may want to talk with the complainant or investigating staff members to establish facts and obtain further information.

 

Letters are available on request from the office.

 

Once satisfied that the investigation has been concluded and a decision has been reached on the complaint, the Chair of Governors will notify the complainant in writing of the conclusion.

 

The conclusion could be:

  1. The evidence indicates that the complaint was substantiated and therefore upheld
  2. The complaint was substantiated in part and what action will be taken
  3. The complaint is not substantiated by the evidence and therefore not upheld

 

The complainant is also informed if they are still dissatisfied they can write to the Governing Body directly via the school or, Governor Services or School Management Support at Newham Partnership Working outlining why they feel the complaint is unresolved.

 

Stage 4 – Formal (if not resolved at Stage 3)

The complaint is heard by the Governing Body. This is the final stage of the process.

 

  1. the complainant is dissatisfied with the response from the Chair of Governors (or Vice-Chair) at Stage 3 they should be advised that the next stage is to put their complaint in writing to the School Governing Body at Stage 4.

 

The complainant must ensure that they include details of why they are still dissatisfied with the decision of the Chair, recommendations and actions of the Stage 3 complaint and what they feel would resolve the matter. They can also attach any evidence to support their concerns in addition to that submitted at Stages 1, 2 and 3.

 

The complaint will be acknowledged within 10 school days.

 

The complaint is considered by a panel of Governors who form a complaints appeal panel. The panel must be independent and impartial. No governor may sit on the panel if they have had a prior involvement in the complaint or in the circumstances surrounding it. The panel must have a cross-section of categories of governors and sensitive to the issues of race, gender and religious affiliation. If appropriate the panel can be made up of governors from another school.

The panel must convene a meeting to discuss the complaint and all the investigation evidence to make a final decision on how to progress. A clerk should be appointed to take notes of the meeting and records must be kept. A useful checklist for a panel hearing is attached in Appendix 2.

 

The head teacher has a statutory duty for the internal organisation and management of the school, which they must carry out in accordance with any rules, regulations or policies laid down by the governing body. Therefore the remit of governors’ consideration of a complaint about a matter of internal organisation and control will be as to whether the head teacher has followed any relevant school policies; it is not to substitute its own operational judgement for that of the Head Teacher.

 

 

 

The panel can decide:

  • To convene a meeting with the complainant. If a meeting is to be convened, the person chairing the meeting either the Chair or Vice-chair (whomever did not deal with the complaint at Stage 3), will write to the complainant to acknowledge the complaint within 10 school days. The letter would also include the date, time and venue of the convened meeting to hear the complaint.
  • Decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint
  • For non-complex complaints, not to meet with the complainant, but to use all the information available to them and make a decision on the complaint as there is enough information to allow for a decision to be made.

 

Possible outcomes for the Panel

  1. Dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
  2. Uphold the complaint in whole or in part
  3. Recommend changes to school systems or procedures to ensure that similar do not occur

 

An outcome letter will be sent to the complainant within 20 school days of the meeting. A model response letter is attached in Appendix F.

 

4. Further information

 

The outcome letter from the School Complaints Panel exhausts the 4 Stage procedure. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the process, they are able to contact

The Secretary of State for Education,

The School Complaints Unit (SCU)

Department for Education

2nd Floor, Piccadilly Gate

Manchester

M1 2WD

 

The SCU will examine if the school complaints policy and any other relevant processes were followed. The SCU will also examine policies to determine if they adhere to education legislation. However, the SCU will not re-investigate the substance of the complaint.

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