Raising Concerns - how to make a complaint
We believe that our school provides a good education for all our children and that the Head and other members of staff work extremely hard to build positive relationships will all our families.
As a Church of England School, Christian values are at the heart of all we do. We value our relationship with parents and all members of the school and local community. If you do have a concern we want to know about it so that it can be dealt with immediately. Most issues can be dealt with easily and quickly, but to ensure all concerns are handled effectively the Governing Body has adopted a complaints policy and procedure. The school’s Complaints Procedure is devised with the intention that it will:
- usually be possible to resolve problems by informal means
- be simple to use and understand
- treat complaints confidentially
- allow problems to be handled swiftly
- inform future practice so that a problem is unlikely to recur
- ensure that the school’s attitude to a pupil will never be affected by a parental complaint
- discourage anonymous complaints
- actively encourage strong home-school links
- ensure that any person complained against has equal rights with the person making the complaint
- reaffirm the partnership between parents, staff and governors as we work together for the good of the pupils in the school
- be regularly reviewed
Who can make a complaint?
This complaints procedure is not limited to parents or carers of children that are registered at the school. Any person, including members of the public, may make a complaint to about any facilities or services that we provide. Unless complaints are dealt with under separate statutory procedures (such as appeals relating to exclusions or admissions), we will use this complaints procedure.
The difference between a concern and a complaint
A concern can be defined as ‘an expression of worry or doubt for which reassurances are sought’. A complaint may be defined as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action’. It is in everyone’s interest that concerns and complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. Many issues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of the complaints procedure.
How to raise a concern or make a complaint
A concern or complaint can be made in person, in writing or by telephone. It may also be made by a third party acting on behalf on a complainant, as long as they have appropriate consent to do so.
Concerns should be raised with either the class teacher or headteacher. If the issue remains unresolved, the next step is to make a formal complaint.
- Complaints against school staff (except the headteacher) should be made in the first instance, to Ms O’Brien via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
- Complaints that involve or are about the headteacher should be addressed to the Chair of Governors, via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
- Complaints about the Chair of Governors, any individual governor or the whole governing body should be addressed to the Clerk to the Governing Body via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential..
Contacting Us At St James Primary School
- Our main email address at the School Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Our phone number is 0208 883 6540 if you’d prefer to call
- Ms O’Brien can be reached directly via email@example.com
- Any of the Governors can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Our address is Woodside Avenue, London N10 3JA if you would prefer to write
Stages in the complaints procedure
If you have a concern we would like you to tell us about it so that we can talk with you and see how best to resolve the issue. The majority of concerns can be resolved informally by speaking to a member of staff. Whatever your concern, please know that we shall treat it as strictly confidential and that our support and respect for you and your child will not be affected. Please contact your child’s class teacher via the School Office or other appropriate member of staff, and arrange a time when you can discuss the issue. It may be possible for you to see the member of staff straight away but normally it is better to make an appointment so that you can sit and talk things through. It may be possible to give a response immediately, but where any investigation or information is required, a response will be given within five school days.
Formal Stage 1
If you have not resolved your issue by informal means, or you wish to refer it directly to a formal process you should contact Ms O'Brien. We would encourage you at this stage to put your complain in writing if you have not already done so. (Please feel free to use the template at the back of the policy if you find it useful).
If your complaint is about the head teacher you should contact the chair of governors c/o the school. It is helpful if you can give a brief outline of your concern on our form. Note: During the investigation, we will
- if necessary, interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be accompanied if they wish
- keep a written record of any meetings/interviews in relation to their investigation.
At the conclusion of the investigation, we will provide a formal written response within 10 school days of the date of receipt of the complaint. If the headteacher is unable to meet this deadline, they will provide the complainant with an update and revised response date. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions St James Primary will take to resolve the complaint.
Formal Stage 2
If following Stage 1 you still have concerns you may ask for your complaint to be considered by a complaints committee of the governing body by writing to the Clerk to the Governors c/o the school. The committee will be formed of three governors with no prior involvement. They will listen to you, to the headteacher and, if appropriate, any others involved and come to a decision. You may bring a friend to the hearing if you wish. Stage 2 will be heard by a committee of independent governors. The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions school will take to resolve the complaint. The response will also advise the complainant of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissatisfied.
Written records will be kept of all complaints – formal and informal – including whether they are resolved at a preliminary stage or a hearing. The correspondence, statements and records of complaints are to be kept confidential except where a body conducting an inspection under Section 163 of the Education Act 2002 or Secretary of State requests access to the records or other documents involved in the complaint.
You are able to download our guide to raising a concern here