Complaints & Procedures Policy

Introduction

This policy involves all members of staff, as well as parents and pupils. The policy, approved by the Principal and the Board of Governors, provides guidelines for handling concerns and complaints. The procedures set out below may be adapted as appropriate to meet the circumstances of each case. Certain procedures can only be carried out during term time. Separate procedures apply in the event of a child protection issue or if the Principal permanently excludes or asks a pupil to leave and the parents seek a Governors' Review of that decision. Parents include a current or prospective parent or legal guardian or education guardian.

Three stages: this policy describes a three-stage procedure

  1. Stage 1: informal raising of a concern or difficulty notified orally or in writing to a member of staff
  2. Stage 2: a formal complaint in writing to the Principal
  3. Stage 3: a renewed complaint in writing to the Chairman of the Board of Governors

A concern about the safety of your child should be notified immediately to the person you believe is best placed to take urgent action and should be confirmed in writing to the Principal.

Policy Aim and Statement

Aim: The aim of this policy is to ensure that a concern or complaint is managed sympathetically, efficiently and at the appropriate level, and resolved as soon as possible. Doing so is good practice, it is fair to those concerned and it helps to promote parents' and pupils' confidence in our ability to safeguard and promote welfare. We will try to resolve every concern or complaint in a positive way with the aim of putting right a matter which may have gone wrong and, where necessary, reviewing our systems and procedures in light of the circumstances.

Policy statement: The School needs to know as soon as possible if there is any cause for dissatisfaction. We recognise that a difficulty that is not resolved quickly and fairly can soon become a cause of resentment, which would be damaging to relationships and also to our school culture. Parents and pupils should never feel - or be made to feel - that a complaint will be ignored or will adversely affect a pupil or his/her opportunities at this school. The policy, however, distinguishes between a concern or difficulty which can be resolved informally and a formal complaint which will require investigation.

Management of Complaints

No member of staff should manage a complaint on their own and must refer it to their line manager for advice and consideration. If there is doubt as to which ‘category’ a complaint belongs, the line manager should consult the relevant member of SLT.

Concerns & Complaints Policy

Date created: September 2017
Reviewed: September 2019

The Principal has appointed the Head of the Primary School and the Dean of Students of the Senior School to be responsible for the co-ordination and administration of the Complaints Procedure. If one or other is unavailable or is the subject of the complaint, his/her duties will be carried out by the Principal or another senior member of staff. Their main responsibilities in this context are to:

be the first point of contact while the matter remains unresolved and keep records;
  • coordinate the complaints procedures in school;
  • maintain an on-going training programme for all school employees in relation to complaints;
  • monitor the keeping, confidentiality and storage of records in relation to complaints;
  • report regularly to the Principal with respect to complaints.

Complaints: Every formal complaint (a serious complaint made in writing rather than a ‘concern’) notified to a member of staff will be noted, together with the action taken, on the relevant file.

Stage 1 (Informal Stage): Concerns and Difficulties

Concerns: We expect that most concerns, where a parent or pupil seeks intervention, reconsideration or some other action to be taken, can be resolved informally. Examples might include dissatisfaction about some aspect of teaching or pastoral care, or about allocation of privileges or responsibilities, or about a timetable clash or some other aspect of the School's systems or equipment, or a billing error.
Notification: raise the concern initially as follows:
Education issues - If the matter relates to the classroom, the curriculum or special educational needs, speak or write to the Tutor or Class Teacher or Head of Department as appropriate.
Pastoral care - For concerns relating to matters outside the classroom, speak or write to the Tutor, Class Teacher, Head of Key Stage or the relevant SLT member.
Disciplinary matters - A problem over any disciplinary action taken or a sanction imposed should be raised first with the member of staff who imposed it, and, if not resolved, with the Tutor, Head of Key Stage or the relevant SLT member.
Financial matters - A query relating to fees or extras should be stated in writing to the CFO.
Acknowledgement: We will acknowledge a written notification by telephone, e-mail or letter within two working days of receipt during term time and as soon as practicable in the holidays. A complaint raised orally will not necessarily be acknowledged in writing but a Complaints Form (see appendix) may be completed and sent to the relevant SLT member.
Unresolved concerns: A concern which has not been resolved by informal means should be notified in writing as a formal complaint which will be dealt with in accordance with Stage 2 below.

Concerns & Complaints Policy

Stage 2: Formal Complaint

Notification: An unresolved concern under Stage 1, or a complaint which needs investigation, or dissatisfaction with some aspect of the School's policies, procedures, management or administration should be set out in writing with full details and sent with all relevant documents and your full contact details in an envelope addressed to the Principal or to the relevant SLT member. Your complaint will be acknowledged by telephone or in writing within two working days during term time, indicating the action that is being taken and the likely time scale.
Investigation: The Principal may ask a senior member of staff to act as "investigator" and/or may involve one or more members of the Board of Governors. The investigator/s may request additional information from the complainant and will probably wish to speak personally and to others who have knowledge of the circumstances.
You may request a meeting with the Principal. The outcome of the investigation will be reported to the Principal.
Either the Principal or Head of Primary School or Deputy Head Pastoral of the Senior School, as appropriate, will then notify you in writing of his decision and the reasons for it. Written records will be kept of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.

Stage 3: Reference to the Chairman of the Board of Governors

Notification: If dissatisfied with the Principal's decision under Stage 2, the complaint may be renewed in writing to the Chairman of the Board of Governors. Your letter to the Chairman should give full details of your complaint and enclose all relevant documents and your full contact details. It can be sent by email to the following address: [email protected].
Your letter will normally be acknowledged by telephone or in writing within four working days during term time, indicating the action that is being taken and the likely time scale.
Action by the Chairman of the Board of Governors: The Chair will arrange for the complaint to be investigated – usually involving a small sub-committee of at least three people who were not directly involved in the original complaint including one panel member who is independent of the management and running of the school – following procedures equivalent to those described in Stage 2 (above). When the Chair is satisfied that he has established all the material facts and relevant policies, so far as is practicable, he will notify the complainant in writing of his decision and the reasons for it. This decision is final.
Confidentiality: A written record will be kept of all complaints, and of whether they are resolved at Stages 1, 2 or 3. Correspondence, statements and records relating to individual complaints will be kept confidential. Details of individual complaints will normally be destroyed following each school inspection. In exceptional circumstances some details will be retained for a further period as necessary.

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