Procedures For Dealing With Parental Complaints
At The River Bank School, we undertake to provide a friendly and safe environment in which pupils will be helped to achieve their potential, both academically and socially. We recognise that sometimes things can go wrong and parents, carers and members of the public may need to make a complaint or raise concerns they have with the school. This policy tells you what to do if this happens.
Most complaints/issues can be resolved informally and quickly by discussion with the member of staff concerned or the Head teacher. Parent/carers should make an appointment to discuss their concerns with the member of staff who knows about the issue or incident. If the complaint relates to a pupil, ideally the member of staff concerned should be directly involved with the pupil, in the first instance the class teacher or alternatively the Head teacher, depending on the nature of the concern. The member of staff will usually write notes during the meeting. Parents/carers can ask for a copy of these notes.
There are three formal stages:
If a parent/carer is still dissatisfied after the informal stage, they, or the member of staff can refer the matter to the Head teacher. This should be in writing, as this will often make the situation clear to all involved parties.
The Head teacher will offer a meeting with the parent/carer or other complainant at a mutually convenient time to discuss and clarify what the issues are and what the parent/carer wants to achieve.
If the issue is complex the Head teacher may need to speak to other staff and pupils to investigate the concerns. This should happen within 10 school days. If this timescale cannot be met the Head teacher should inform the parent/carer that this will take longer, explaining the reasons for this and giving a timescale for when the investigation will be completed.
Together all parties will agree an acceptable outcome that is to the satisfaction of all parties involved. This should be written down and agreed by all parties so there is no misunderstanding and all parties should receive a copy.
After meeting with the Head teacher, if the complaint is still not resolved to the parent/carer’s satisfaction, the complaint can be referred to the School Director. This should be in writing to the Chair at the school address The Head teacher can also refer the complaint to the School Director.
If the Head teacher is the subject of the complaint, the complaint should go straight to the School Director and miss out Stage 1.
The School Director will offer to meet with the parent/carer or other complainant, at a mutually convenient time.
The School Director has 15 school days to investigate the complaint. If it cannot be resolved within this time, the Chair will inform the complainant explaining the reasons for the delay and when it is expected that the investigation will be completed. Reasons for the delay may be that the complaint is complex and needs more time or someone involved is absent through sickness or holidays.
If the complaint is still not resolved to the parent/carer’s satisfaction, or School Director feels that it is necessary, s/he can set up a complaints committee to consider the complaint. The School Director will decide if this is appropriate.
As far as possible it is recommended that Complaints Committees are a last resort.
The School Director will appoint a member of the Governing body as an investigating officer to gather evidence and conduct preliminary interviews on the chair’s behalf. The investigating officer will provide a detailed report of his/her investigation of the complaint. Parents/carers will be given a copy of this report. It is important that the investigating officer is seen as impartial so s/he will not be a member of the associated complaints committee.
The Complaints Committee is made up of three members of the River Bank School’s Governing Body.
The Complaints Committee will meet at a time convenient to all parties. The complainant, the Head teacher, the School Director and any member of staff the complaint is about will be invited to the meeting. Any person invited can bring a friend or supporter if they wish. The Complaints Committee will consider any written material, and also give the person making the complaint and the Head teacher, School Director and staff an opportunity to state their case and to question others present. The committee will ensure that all present are treated fairly. The meeting will be minute by the clerk to governors and everyone present will be given a copy of the minutes.
The committee will give its decision, in writing, within five school days after the meeting, along with the reasons for their decision.
If after this school based process the complaint is still not resolved to the parent/carer’s satisfaction, they should write to the Board of Directors. If a complaint is not from a parent/carer of a pupil of the school (an example being a member of the public) these should be made directly to the Head teacher, preferably in writing.
All complaints will be recorded formally by the school in a central log.
It should be noted that schools do not need to consider complaints made more than one year after the incident/situation.
If a complaint is made about an issue that is over a year old the school will write to the complainant explaining why this is the case.