School complaints policy
The School welcomes suggestions and comments from parents and takes seriously complaints and concerns that may arise. The School prides itself on the quality of care provided for the children. The following “Independent Schools Council” Code of Practice has been adopted by the as a school framework for addressing concerns.
A complaint will be treated as an expression of genuine dissatisfaction, which needs a response.
We wish to ensure that:
- parents wishing to make a complaint know how to do so
- we respond to complaints within a reasonable time and in a courteous and efficient way
- parents realise that we listen and take complaints seriously
- we take action where appropriate
“I don’t want to complain as such, but there is something bothering me”
The School is here for you and your child, and we want to hear your views and your ideas. Contact a member of staff, as described below.
“I am not sure whether to complain or not”
If as parents you have concerns, you are entitled to complain. If in doubt, you should contact the School, as we are here to help.
“What will happen next?”
If you raise something face-to-face or by telephone, it may be possible to resolve the matter immediately and to your satisfaction.
“How should I complain?”
It is hoped that most complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally, follow Stage 1- informal resolution.
Any member of staff will be happy to help. It may be best to start with the person most closely concerned with the issue. They may be able to sort things out quickly, with the minimum of fuss. However, you may prefer to take the matter to a more senior member of staff, for example, the Principal.
Stage 1 – Informal Resolution
The member of staff will make a written, dated record of all concerns and complaints. Should the matter not be resolved within seven days, or if the member of staff and the parent fail to reach a satisfactory resolution, parents will be advised to proceed to Stage 2 – formal resolution.
Stage 2 – Formal Resolution
If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, then the parents should put their complaint in writing to the Principal. They will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take.
If you have made a complaint or suggestion in writing, we will contact you within five working days of receipt, to respond to your concerns and explain how we propose to proceed. In most cases the Principal will meet with the parents concerned within this time to discuss the matter.
In some circumstances, the Principal will need to discuss the matter with colleagues and consider it further before responding. You will be given a date by which time you will receive a response. If a detailed exploration of the issues is needed, a letter or report will be sent to you as quickly as possible. This will tell you of the outcome of your complaint. It will explain the conclusion, the reasons for it and any action taken or proposed within 28 days.
It is hoped that resolution will be reached at this stage.
The Principal will keep written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.
“What if I am not satisfied with the outcome?”
We hope that you will feel satisfied with the outcome, or at least that your concerns have been fully and fairly considered. However if parents are still not satisfied with the decision, they should proceed to Stage 3 – Panel Hearing.
Stage 3 – Panel Hearing
If following a failure to reach an earlier resolution, parents seek to invoke Stage 3 they will be referred to the Complaints Panel for consideration. The Panel will consist of three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint, one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Each of the Panel members shall be appointed by the Principal. A hearing will take place as soon as practicable and normally within fourteen days. If the Panel deems it necessary, it may require that further particulars of the complaint or any related matter be supplied in advance of the hearing. Copies of such particulars shall be supplied to all parties not later than two days prior to the hearing.
The parents may be accompanied to the hearing by one other person. This may be a relative, teacher or friend. Legal representation will not normally be appropriate.
If possible, the Panel will resolve the parents’ complaint immediately without the need for further investigation.
Where further investigation is required, the Panel will decide how it should be carried out. After due consideration of all facts they consider relevant, the Panel will reach a decision and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within seven days of the hearing. The Panel will write to the parents informing them of its decision and the reasons for it.
“What happens about confidentiality?”
Your complaint or concern will be treated in a confidential manner and with respect. Knowledge of it will be limited to the Principal and those directly involved. It is the School’s policy that complaints made by parents should not rebound adversely on their children.
We cannot entirely rule out the need to make third parties outside the school aware of the complaint and possibly also the identity of those involved. This would be likely to happen where, for example, a child’s safety was at risk or it became necessary to refer matters to the police. You would be fully informed. Correspondence, statements and records will be kept confidential, except in so far as is required of the school by standard 7 (k) of the Education (Independent Schools Standards) regulations 2003.
While information relating to specific complaints will be kept confidentially on file, we would point out that anonymous complaints may not be pursued.
A copy of the findings and recommendations will be sent electronically or otherwise to the complainant, and where relevant, the person complained about.
Action, which needed to be taken under staff disciplinary procedures as a result of complaints, would be handled confidentially within the School.
During the academic year 2016-17, 2 complaints were registered under stage 2/3 of the formal process.