Gallow Field Road
Telephone: 01858 545 328
(Reviewed July 2012)
Foxton Primary School welcomes any suggestions for improving the work of the school and views complaints positively as one way for the school to learn and progress.
It is the policy of the school to deal with complaints fairly and objectively.
Parents should always know how they can raise concerns or lodge a formal complaint. The following is printed in the Prospectus:
We value parents’ involvement in school and we aim to keep you informed about school policy and your child’s progress. However, there may be times when you have queries or complaints to make about your child’s education. Firstly, speak to your child’s teacher or the head teacher. The majority of questions and anxieties can be dealt with in this way. However, if your concerns can not be resolved you have the right to formally contact the Chair of Governors and ultimately the matter can be taken up with Leicestershire County Council.
A leaflet for parents, explaining how problems are dealt with and how the complaints procedures work, is given to all parents and is available from the school office.
School staff are familiar with procedures so that they can advise parents. The Staff Handbook contains details of how to listen to complaints.
Governors receiving a complaint should refer it to the Head Teacher immediately, without discussion, so as not to compromise the governor’s later involvement in a Complaints Panel hearing.
The vast majority of concerns and complaints can be resolved informally. There are many occasions where concerns are resolved straight away through the class teacher, school secretary, or Head Teacher, depending on whom the complainant first approached. It is in everyone’s interest that complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. The experience of the first contact between the complainant and the school can be crucial in determining whether the complaint will escalate.
Parents must feel able to raise concerns with members of staff without any formality, either in person, by telephone or in writing. On occasion it may be appropriate for someone to act on behalf of a parent. In some cases a complainant may have difficulty in discussing a complaint with a particular member of staff. In this case the Head Teacher should refer the matter to another member of staff.
Parents have an opportunity for discussion of their complaint with the appropriate member of staff, who clarifies with the parent the nature of the complaint, and reassures them that the school want to hear about it. The member of staff may explain to the parent how the situation happened. It can be helpful to identify at this point what sort of outcome the parent is looking for.
If the member of staff first contacted cannot immediately deal with the matter, she/he makes a clear note of the date, name, contact address or phone number.
Any member of staff will know how to refer, if necessary, to the person with the responsibility for the particular issue raised by the parent. She/he will check later to make sure that the referral has been successful.
On major issues the Head Teacher may decide to deal with the complaint directly at this stage.
If the complaint relates to the conduct of a member of staff, this should be referred to the Head Teacher immediately without discussion.
If the complaint relates to the conduct of the Head Teacher, this should be referred to the Chair of the Governing Body immediately without discussion.
If a complaint is received by a governor this should be referred to the Head Teacher immediately without discussion, so as not to compromise the governor’s later involvement in a Complaints Panel hearing.
The person dealing with the complaint should make sure that the parent is clear what action (if any) or monitoring of the situation has been agreed, putting this in writing if this seems the best way of making things clear.
Where no satisfactory solution has been found within ten days, complainants are asked if they wish their complaint to be considered further. If so, they are given clear information, both orally and in writing, and how they proceed and about any independent advice available to them, and are advised to put their complaint in writing.
The Head Teacher’s influence will already have shaped the way complaints are handled in the school. At this point, the complainant may be dissatisfied with the way the complaint was handled at stage one as well as pursuing their initial complaint. The head may delegate the task of collating the information to another staff member but not the decision on the action to be taken.
The complainant should formally raise the issue with the Chair of Governors who will investigate the matter and respond accordingly. If the Chair of Governors feels there maybe a conflict of interests and his/her intervention could be seen as having bias the Chair should refer the complainant to the Vice Chair of Governors. If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, they should be referred to Stage 3 (Complaints Committee).
The complainant needs to write to the Chair of Governors giving details of the complaint. The Chair, or a nominated governor, will convene a Governing Body complaints panel.
The governors’ appeal hearing is the last school-based stage of the complaints process, and is not convened to merely rubber-stamp previous decisions.
Individual complaints would not be heard by the whole Governing Body at any stage, as this could compromise the impartiality of any panel set up for a disciplinary hearing against a member of staff following a serious complaint.
The governing body may nominate a number of members with delegated powers to hear complaints at that stage, and set out its terms of reference. These can include:
The procedure adopted by the panel for hearing appeals would normally be part of the school’s complaints procedure. The panel can be drawn from the nominated members and may consist of three or five people. The panel may choose their own chair.
The panel can:
There are several points which any governor sitting on a complaints panel needs to remember:
The Department strongly recommends that any panel or group of governors considering complaints be clerked. The clerk would be the contact point for the complainant and be required to:
The nominated governor role:
The Chair of the Panel has a key role, ensuring that:
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.