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Complaints Policy

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Complaints Procedures for School Governing Bodies (May 2016)

 

Information on the statutory requirement for Governing Bodies to establish and publicise a complaints procedure.

 

Action: Governing Bodies to consider their established complaints procedures carefully against the Welsh Government’s Complaints Procedures guidance (Circular No 011/2012) and to use the model procedure in Annex 1.

What is a complaint?

For the purpose of this briefing note, a complaint is ’an expression of dissatisfaction in relation to the school, a governor or a member of its staff that requires a response from the school‘.

 

However, if a complaint raises issues about staff capability, staff grievance, staff discipline or child protection, then action must be taken under those procedures and they should take precedence. The complaints procedure must not take the place of those other procedures. Separate procedures also exist to deal with complaints about school admissions or exclusion, special educational needs provision, school organisation proposals, religious worship and the delivery of the curriculum.

Introduction

Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 requires the governing bodies of all maintained schools in Wales, including nursery schools, to establish procedures for dealing with complaints from parents, pupils, members of staff, governors, members of the local community and others. This includes complaints about the school and any community facilities or services that the school provides. The law also requires governing bodies to publish their complaints procedures.

 

A summary should be published in the school prospectus, indicating how a copy can be obtained.

 

 

What is a complaint?

For the purpose of this briefing note, a complaint is ’an expression of dissatisfaction in relation to the school, a governor or a member of its staff that requires a response from the school‘.

 

However, if a complaint raises issues about staff capability, staff grievance, staff discipline or child protection, then action must be taken under those procedures and they should take precedence. The complaints procedure must not take the place of those other procedures. Separate procedures also exist to deal with complaints about school admissions or exclusion, special educational needs provision, school organisation proposals, religious worship and the delivery of the curriculum.

A complaints procedure is a way of ensuring that anyone with an interest in a school can raise a concern, with the confidence that it will be considered properly and, if upheld, that the matter will be addressed appropriately and without delay. It is important that governing bodies handle complaints well.

 

If this is not the case, complainants are dissatisfied, feeling that their concerns are not taken seriously or are not resolved. This undermines trust in governing bodies and confidence in schools being well run.

 

Governing Bodies are advised to consider their complaints procedures carefully against the Welsh Government’s Complaints Procedures guidance (Circular No 011/2012) and to use the model procedure in Annex 1:

 

http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/121002complaintsschoolsen.pdf

 

If a governing body is challenged about its complaints procedure, it will need to demonstrate that it had good reasons for its actions and for not following this guidance in relation to establishing procedures to deal with complaints and publicising such procedures.

 

 

We suggest that the following wording is included in school prospectuses, handbooks, Annual Reports to Parents, on websites etc:

 

Complaints Procedure

The school follows the model complaints procedure suggested by Welsh Government. It is a three-stage procedure:

 

Stage A - In the main, this includes an informal discussion with the teacher or designated person. In most cases, we would expect that the issue which is the cause for concern would be resolved informally at Stage A.

 

Stage B - If you feel that the matter which initially caused you concern has not been resolved, you should submit a complaint in writing to the Headteacher. The Headteacher will investigate your complaint and meet you.

 

Stage C - A formal complaint to the Chair of Governors. If the complaint is not resolved at Stage B, a committee established by the governing body to deal with complaints should consider the complaint.

 

A copy of the full Complaints Procedure is available on request from the Headteacher.

 

 There are special circumstances where the three stage approach is not appropriate, for example complaints concerning the headteacher, the chair of governors, a group of governors, the whole governing body etc. Section 4 of Circular No 011/2012 includes further information on this.

 

If a parent or someone else brings a complaint to an individual governor, he or she needs to remember that there is a proper way of helping in this situation. The governor should:

·         remember that s/he cannot directly solve the problem, since the day-to-day management of the school is the responsibility of the headteacher;

 

·         avoid giving the complainant the impression that they can solve the problem as a result of being anxious to help.

 

·         restrict themselves to referring the parent/person to the relevant school policy.

 

 

A governing body may seek advice from the local authority or the diocesan authorities (if applicable) about its complaints procedure or how to handle a complaint.

 

THE STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEALING WITH COMPLAINTS REMAINS WITH THE GOVERNING BODY HOWEVER.

 

For further information, please contact:

Tanja Neumayer-James, Principal School Governance Officer, on 01267 246448 or email:

TNeumayer-James@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

YSGOL PARCYRHUN 

COMPLAINTS POLICY

 

INTRODUCTION

 

At Ysgol Parcyrhun, we strive to provide a good education for all our children. The headteacher and staff work very hard to build positive relationships with all parents. However, the school is obliged to have procedures in place in case there are complaints by parents or guardians. The following policy sets out the procedures that the school follows in such cases.

 

If any parents are unhappy with the education that their child is receiving, or have any concerns relating to the school, we encourage them to talk to the child’s class teacher immediately.

 

Both the school and the Governing Body follow the model complaints procedure suggested by Welsh Government. It is a three-stage procedure:

 

Stage A - In the main, this includes an informal discussion with the teacher or designated person. In most cases, we would expect that the issue which is the cause for concern would be resolved informally at Stage A.

 

Stage B - If you feel that the matter which initially caused you concern has not been resolved, you should submit a complaint in writing to the Headteacher. The Headteacher will investigate your complaint and meet you.

 

Stage C - A formal complaint to the Chair of Governors. If the complaint is not resolved at Stage B, a committee established by the governing body to deal with complaints should consider the complaint.

 

A copy of the full Complaints Procedure is available on request from the Headteacher.

(See Annex 1 of Complaints Procedures for school governing bodies in Wales 2012)

 

AIMS

Ysgol Parcyrhun aims to be fair, open and honest when dealing with any complaint. We give careful consideration to all complaints, and deal with them as swiftly as possible. We aim to resolve any complaint through dialogue and mutual understanding. In all cases we put the interests of the child above all else. We provide sufficient opportunity for any complaint to be fully discussed, and then resolved.

 

THE COMPLAINTS PROCESS

If a parent is concerned about anything to do with the education that we are providing at our school, they should, in the first instance, discuss the matter as soon as possible with their child’s class teacher through making an appointment. In our experience most matters of concern can be resolved positively in this way. All teachers work very hard to ensure that each child is happy at school, and is making good progress; they naturally want to know if there is a problem, so that they can take action before it seriously affects the child’s progress.

Where parents feel that a situation has not been resolved through contact with the class teacher, or that their concern is of a sufficiently serious nature, they should make an appointment to discuss it with the headteacher and put their complaint in writing. The headteacher considers any such complaint very seriously, and investigates each case thoroughly. Most complaints are normally resolved by this stage.  We aim to have a meeting with parents and plan what will happen within 10 school days of receiving your letter.

 If parents feel that their complaint has not been dealt with fairly then you should write, through the school’s address to the chair of governors setting out your reasons for asking the governing body’s complaints committee to consider your complaint.

The governing body will normally have a meeting with you within 15 days of receiving your letter. After hearing all the evidence, the governors will consider their decision and inform the parent about it in writing within 10 school days of the meeting.

The governing body’s complaints committee is the final arbiter of complaints.

 

MONITORING AND REVIEW

The governors monitor the complaints procedure, in order to ensure that all complaints are handled properly.

Governors take into account any local or national decisions that affect the complaints process, and make any modifications necessary to this policy. This policy is made available to all parents, so that they can be properly informed about the complaints process.

 

This policy was reviewed by the staff on 7 /11/16.This policy was re- adopted by the Governing Body of Parcyrhun School on 9/11/16