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It is essential to establish the nature of the complaint to ensure that the correct policy/procedure is followed.
We want all pupils and their families to be happy with the education we offer and the policies and procedures we follow. Loughton Manor First School aims for all concerns raised to be dealt with promptly, openly, fairly and without prejudice. Most queries or concerns can be resolved satisfactorily through discussion or by providing clarification or further information. However, when a more serious concern is raised, the school has adopted a procedure that explains how to complain and what to expect in response.
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure, for all parties, a fair and consistent approach to dealing with complaints.
The majority of concerns can be dealt with quickly and harmoniously through discussion.
Where concerns are more specific separate arrangements will apply and there will be alternative and more appropriate policies for dealing with them. These policies can be accessed on the school’s website or a copy obtained from the school and may include the following areas of complaint:
If a complaint is made about statutory provision in relation to special educational needs, the national curriculum or collective worship, you should contact Milton Keynes Council if you are not satisfied with the school’s response.
The Complaints Policy and Procedure provides a supportive framework for dealing with all matters relating to the conduct and actions of members of the school community and the application of school procedures as they affect individual pupils.
The procedure may be used by a parent, carer, local resident, governor or any person within the community who has a genuine interest in the school. Anonymous complaints will only be investigated under the procedure in exceptional circumstances.
All complaints will be investigated by an appropriate person; this may be a teacher, a senior member of staff, a governor, or the headteacher depending on the nature of the complaint. If the complaint is against the headteacher, the chair of governors will investigate and may draw on Milton Keynes’ Council for assistance.
As part of any investigation, all relevant parties will be given an opportunity to comment.
Complaints will be dealt with in confidence for those involved, and we expect complainants to observe confidentiality also.
If at any formal stage of the complaint it is determined that staff disciplinary or capability proceedings are necessary in order to resolve the issue, the details of this action will remain confidential to the headteacher and/or the individual’s line manager. The complainant is entitled to be informed that action is being taken and the eventual outcome of any such action, but they are not entitled to participate in the proceedings or receive any detail about them
Comments, concerns or complaints should be raised as soon as possible. They will be dealt with:
Outcomes could include;
If you need to raise an issue in the first instance, please do so with the relevant member of staff who will talk to you and seek to establish a solution. If you are not satisfied with this response and believe the issue has not been resolved, please use the following procedure as detailed below:
Who should be approached
The complainant should first directly approach the headteacher in an attempt to informally resolve the issue. If the complainant is not satisfied with this outcome the administrator to the governors should be notified.
Stage 2 of the process will then commence, but with the chair of governors as the individual responsible for the investigation rather than a member of the senior leadership team.
Where a complaint relates to a governor, the same process applies as for the headteacher. The individual should contact the administrator to the governors, where a complaint concerns the chair of governors. An informal resolution will be sought, but where this fails,
Stage 3 of the complaints procedure will take immediate effect. Either the vice chair or an independent investigator (where appropriate) will mediate any proceedings.
No more than six months
Twenty working days total
Thirty working days total
Where dissatisfied with outcomes, contact the Department for Education
Thirty working days total.
The designated timescales apply during term time and additional time will be required over school holiday periods.
Complaints should be raised as soon as possible. The school reserves the right not to investigate complaints that have been made six months after the subject of the complaint took place, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The headteacher will review the situation and make the decision whether or not to enact the complaints procedure, the chair of governors will also be informed of the decision.
Exceptional circumstances may include:
Stages of the complaint
Stage 1 – Informal investigation (by a member of staff/their line manager/assistant head)
Where as a result of raising a concern the complainant still feels that the issue has not been resolved, or where the outcome of the complaint is that it needs further investigation, that can be resolved briefly. The complainant may progress by making an informal complaint following the steps below:
an outline of the complaint to date
the people who have been involved
why the complaint remains unresolved
the action they would like to be taken to resolve the complaint
Stage 2 – Formal Investigation (by the headteacher)
The complainant can submit a formal complaint form to the headteacher. A copy of this form and the headteacher’s contact details can be found at the end of this procedure.
a statement from the complainant
where applicable, a statement from an individual who is the subject of the complaint
any previous correspondence in relation to the complaint
any supporting documents in either case
interviews with anyone related to the complainant.
The headteacher must inform the complainant of their decision in writing within twenty working days of having issued a written acknowledgement of the receipt of the complaint. They must explain clearly the decision they have come to and why it was made. Any agreed actions must be detailed that have arisen as a result of the complaint. Finally, they must provide the complainant with details of how to progress the complaint to stage 3 if they are not satisfied with the outcome, providing the complainant with the contact details of the administrator to governors (see the end of the procedure).
Stage 3 – Formal Appeal (by a panel of governors of the governing board)
1. If the complainant wishes to appeal a decision by the headteacher at Stage 2 of the procedure, or they are not satisfied with the action that the headteacher took in relation to the complaint, the complainant is able to appeal this decision.
2. They must write to the administrator to the governors (see the contact details at the end of the procedure) as soon as possible after receiving notice of the senior leadership teams’ decision made at stage 2. The complainant must, in writing, briefly outline the content of the complaint and request that a complaints appeal panel is convened.
The administrator will organise the time and date of the appeal hearing, invite all the attendees, collate all the relevant documentation and distribute this five days in advance of the meeting. The administrator or appointed clerk will also record the proceedings in the form of minutes and circulate these and the outcome of the meeting.
An appeal panel must be requested by the complainant within four weeks of receiving the headteacher’s decision or it will not be considered, except in exceptional circumstances. On receipt of this written notification, the following steps will be followed:
1. The administrator will write to the complainant within five working days to confirm receipt of the appeal request and detail further action to be taken.
2. The administrator will convene a panel and the three panel members will have no prior knowledge of the content of the complaint. (Where necessary/appropriate this panel maybe made up of governors from another local school)
3. The appeal hearing will take place within twenty working days of receipt of the date of the confirmation letter from the administrator to the complainant, confirming the appeal.
4. In addition to the panel, the following parties will be invited, where applicable:
the headteacher who dealt with the complaint at Stage 2
where the complaint regards a member of staff, the staff member who is the subject of the complaint.
The complainant is able to bring a companion with them to the hearing if they wish. Where the subject of the complaint is a member of staff, that staff member is also able to bring a companion with them.
The companion can be a friend or a colleague. Neither party is able to bring legal representation with them. If following the hearing any party feels that legal action is necessary, please see the contact details at the end of the procedure.
5. If any pupils are required to attend the hearing, parental permission will be sought if they are under the age of eighteen. Extra care will be taken to consider the vulnerability of children where they are present at a complaints hearing.
6. Where the complaint is about a governor, the complainant may request that the appeal is heard by an entirely independent panel. It is at the discretion of the governing board who will notify the administrator of their decision. Where an entirely independent panel is required, timescales may be affected while the school source appropriate individuals for the review.
7. The panel can make the following decisions:
dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
uphold the complaint in whole or in part
decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint
recommend changes to the school’s systems or procedures to ensure that problems of a similar nature do not recur.
8. All parties who attended the meeting will be informed in writing of the outcome of the appeal within five working days.
This is the final stage at which the complaint will be considered by the school. If the complainant remains dissatisfied and wishes to take the complaint further, please see the contact details at the end of the document. The school will not consider the complaint beyond this stage.
Unreasonable complaints – vexatious complaints
If a complaint is made that raises an issue that has already been dealt with via the school’s complaints procedure, and that procedure has been exhausted, the school will not re-investigate the complaint unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example where new evidence has come to light.
If a complainant persists in raising the same issue, the headteacher will write to them explaining that the matter has been dealt with fully in line with the school complaints procedure, and therefore the case is now closed. The complainant will be provided with the contact details of the Department for Education (see the end of this document) if they wish to take the issue further.
Unreasonable complaints include the following scenarios:
The headteacher will use their discretion to choose not to investigate these complaints. If they decide to take this course of action, the chair of governors must be informed, explaining the nature of the complaint and why they have chosen not to investigate. If the Chair deems it appropriate to, they can redirect the headteacher to investigate the complaint. The full complaints procedure will then commence from stage one on this direction.
If the Chair upholds the headteacher’s decision not to look into the complaint, and the complainant deems this decision to be so unreasonable that no other rational body in the same position would have made that decision, then the complainant may write to the Department for Education.
Contact details for external organisations if not satisfied with the outcomes of the complaints procedure in full.
Relevant legislation and guidance
The Equality Act 2010 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
The General Data Protection Regulation https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.119.01.0001.01.ENG
The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/3283/contents/made
Education Act 2002 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/32/contents
The Department for Education Best Practice advice for school complaints procedures https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-complaints-procedures
Formal complaints form
Name of pupil, year group and your relationship to them (where applicable)
Contact telephone day
Contact telephone mobile
Contact email address
Details of the complaint
Action taken so far (including staff member who has dealt with it so far) or solutions offered
The reason that this was not a satisfactory resolution for you
What action would you like to be taken to resolve the problem?
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