The majority of issues raised by parents, or pupils, are concerns rather than complaints. Park Community School is committed to taking concerns seriously, at the earliest stage, in the hope of keeping the number of formal complaints to a minimum and without recourse to formal procedures. However, in those instances where a parent does not feel a concern has been addressed, or it is of sufficient gravity, then the School’s formal complaints procedure should be used. The prime aim of the School’s policy is to resolve the complaint as fairly and speedily as possible. Formal complaints will be dealt with in a sensitive, impartial and confidential manner.
This policy and procedure has been developed with due regard to the 2002 Education Act and to guidance published by the DfE in 2011.
“Schools might wish to nominate a member of staff to have responsibility for the operation and management of the school complaints procedure. They could be termed the school’s complaints co-ordinator. In smaller schools this may often be the Headteacher or Principal.” DfES Guidance
The policy will be available also via the website and provided, on request, in hard copy to parents of pupils at the School and to parents of prospective pupils, on request. Written records of all complaints indicating whether they were resolved at the preliminary stage or whether they proceeded to a panel hearing will be kept.
The following details outline the stages that can be used to resolve parental complaints.
The School’s Policy has four main stages.
In summary they are as follows:
- A concern is raised informally with an appropriate member of staff. Most concerns will be resolved at this stage If not then stage 2 begins.
- The school receives a formal written complaint. The matter will be investigated and resolved. If not then stage 3 begins.
- The Principal hears the details of the complaint and investigations that have already occurred and arranges a further investigation to resolve the matter. If the matter cannot be resolved, then the complaint goes to.
- The Local Governing Body’s Complaints’ Panel for a formal hearing of the complaint. Their decision is final.
Stage 1 – Raising a concern
Concerns can be raised with the School at any time and will often generate an immediate response, which will resolve the concern. Apart from the School’s normal Parental Consultation Evenings, or other arranged meetings with specific staff, the School requests that parents make their first contact with their son’s/daughter’s Home Base Tutor or coach.
On some occasions the concern raised may require investigation, or discussion with others, in which case there will be an informal but informed response within a day or two. It is anticipated that the vast majority of concerns will be satisfactorily dealt with in this way.
Stage 2 – Making a complaint
Formal complaints should be in writing and sent to the School, addressed to the Principal. The complaint will be logged, including the date it was received. The School will normally acknowledge receipt of the complaint within two working days of receiving it and report on the action the School will take to resolve the issue. Any investigation will at this stage be led by someone other than the Principal. The outcome of the investigation will be communicated in writing within 10 working days. Where this is not possible the School will communicate in writing within 10 working days to explain when it can be resolved.
Note Regarding Complaints Against the Principal
In cases where the matter concerns the conduct of the Principal, the Local Governing Body, the Board of Chapel Street Community School’s Trust and the Principal will be informed of the complaint and the Local Academy Board will arrange for the matter to be investigated. The School will normally give a response within five working days but in any case within no more than ten working days.
Stage 3 – Further Investigation
If the matter cannot be resolved at Stage 2, another designated member of staff will review the information and may undertake a further investigation. Following the investigation, the School will give a written response within ten working days. Where this is not possible the School will communicate in writing within 10 working days to explain when it can be resolved.
At each stage of the process the complainant will be asked to confirm whether or not the matter has been resolved.
Stage 4 – Complaints’ Panel
If the matter has still not been resolved at Stage 3, then the School will advise the complainant of the right to refer to the Local Governing Body who will establish a panel of at least 3 people who have not been directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint. Complainants should send their written complaint to the Chair of Local Academy Board asking for the matter to be considered by the Local Academy Board’ Complaints’ Panel with delegated powers to hear complaints. The hearing will normally take place within ten working days of the receipt of the written request for Stage 4 investigation. The panel will be consist of 2 governors and one person who is independent of the management and running of the School. Parents will be allowed to attend the panel hearing and may be accompanied if they so wish.
The aim of the panel hearing is to impartially resolve the complaint and to achieve reconciliation between the School and the complainant. All parties will be notified of the Panel’s decision in writing within five working days after the date of the hearing. The decision of the panel is final.
The panel will make findings and recommendations and these will be sent to the complainant. They will also be available for the Principal, the Chair of the Local Governing Body and the Board of Chapel Street Community Schools Trust to inspect.
NB: Written records will be kept of all complaints, and of whether they are resolved at the preliminary stage or proceed to a panel hearing.
All correspondence, statements and records of complaints are confidential (except where the Secretary of State or a body conducting an inspection under section 162 of the 2002 Act requests access to them).
Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
The Local Governing Body monitors the complaints procedure, in order to ensure that all complaints are handled properly. The Principal logs all formal complaints received by the School and records how they were resolved.
Local Academy Board examine this log on an annual basis and consider the need for any changes to the procedure. The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the School.
The Board of Chapel Street Community Schools Trust will also examine the log on an annual basis to ensure that the correct procedures are being adhered to.