Complaints Policy

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Complaints and Compliments : Our policy and procedure

Most concerns or complaints can be dealt with on an informal basis in discussion with a member of staff. This procedure, whilst anticipating that, for many, an informal discussion will suffice, provides a structured approach to dealing with concerns or complaints which are not able to be resolved at the first attempt.

This procedure can be used by parents of pupils attending the Academy, as well as other who wish to register a complaint about a relevant matter.

This procedure shall deal with all matters relating to the provision of services or facilities by the Academy, except matters which are subject to separate procedures. These exceptions include :

  • Student admissions
  • Complaints about the national curriculum, including a temporary withdrawal of students
  • Collective worship or religious education
  • Non-approved external qualifications or syllabuses
  • Any issues relating to child protection and criminal investigations
  • Student exclusions
  • Any staffing related issue where there is an agreed policy and procedure in place, for example disciplinary or grievance

It will also exclude any services by other providers using school premises or facilities.

Equally, it is hoped that there will be many occasions on which members of school will be complimented. Compliments may be given to individuals, groups, classes or to the whole school. They are always welcome and can be made informally directly to a member of staff or to the Executive Head Teacher (EHT) or Head of School.

2 Aims and principles:

The aims of this policy and procedure are to

  • Encourage the resolution of problems by informal means wherever possible
  • Ensure concerns are dealt with quickly, full and fairly
  • Provide effective responses and appropriate redress
  • Seek to promote and maintain good working relationships between all people involved in the academy
  • Recognise positive behaviour which brings credit to individuals and the academy

In operating this policy and procedure, we are also guided by the following considerations :

  • Concerns and complaints need to be considered and resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible, so as to allow for a proper investigation. Matters raised more than three months after the event being complained of, will not be considered, except in exceptional circumstances or where there are reasonable reasons for this delay.
  • Anonymous complaints may be considered at the discretion of the Executive Head Teacher (EHT). In exercising this discretion, the seriousness of the issues raised, the credibility of the concern and the likelihood of confirming the allegation with others, will be taken into account.
  • Any unreasonable refusal to assist in the resolution of the complaint at any stage may result in the procedure being terminated forthwith.
  • Where a complainant attempts to raise a complaint for a second or subsequent time, and the complaint has been dealt with through this procedure, the Chair of the Local Governing Body may consider the matter vexatious. The school will advise the complainant the matter has been dealt with and is considered closed. Further correspondence will not be entered into.
  • Where a complainant has a difficulty in raising an issue due to a disability or learning difficulty, the school will provide support as required. Please contact a member of the Senior Leadership Team in the first instance.
  • Compliments will be communicated to the relevant person / people at the earliest convenience. Where appropriate, these shall be shared with a wider audience.

3 Dealing with concerns and complaints

Where a concern or complaint is raised, the following three stage procedure should be followed :

Stage 1 – The member of staff concerned

Where possible, concerns or complaints should be dealt with informally, and should be done initially by an approach to the relevant staff member.

  • Where the complainant does not feel able to raise the matter directly with the relevant member of staff, it should be raised with a member of the Senior Leadership Team who will refer to matter to the appropriate person for consideration. If an approach is made to a member of staff who feels unable, or that it is inappropriate for them to deal with it, they should advise a member of the Senior Leadership Team who will similarly refer the complaint to an appropriate person.
  • If the concern or complaint is raised with a member of the Local Governing Body, it should be referred to the EHT or Head of School who will refer the matter to the appropriate person. The Governor should have no further involvement at this stage, in case they are needed to sit on a panel at a later stage in the procedure.
  • Where a complaint is not from a parent of a pupil of the Academy, but a member of the public wishing to raise an issue, the most appropriate person with whom the complaint can be raised may be a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

The complaint should be acknowledged within 5 working days. If it is necessary, a meeting will be arranged within 5 working days of the acknowledgement being sent.

Stage 2 – The Executive Head Teacher or SLT representative

Where the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily at stage 1, or where the complaint is about the Executive Head Teacher (EHT), or the complaint is about a member of the Local Governing Body (including the Chair), the following shall apply :

  • Where the complaint is about a member of staff or an action the school has taken, the complaint should be submitted in writing to the Executive Head Teacher (EHT) without undue delay.
  • Where the complaint is about the EHT or a member of the Local Governing Body, the complaint should be submitted in writing to the Leadership and Governance Manager.

Complainants are encouraged to use the Complaint Form attached at the end of this policy. This asks the complainant to outline the nature of the complaint and the steps taken to resolve it so far.

The complaint should be acknowledged within 5 working days. If it is necessary a meeting will be arranged within 5 working days of the acknowledgement being sent.

At this second stage,

  • If the complaint is against a member of staff or an action the school has taken, it will be heard by the EHT, or their appointed representative.
  • If the complaint is against the EHT, it will be heard by the Chair of Local Governing Body or Chair of the Board of Directors as appropriate.
  • If the complaint is against the Chair of Local Governing Body, it will be heard by the Board of Directors or a relevant sub-committee.

If it is considered that a meeting is the most appropriate course of action, at the meeting you will be asked to outline your complaint. Through discussion it may be possible to come to a conclusion at that time. Where this is not possible, the meeting should seek to agree an appropriate course of action (for example, if further investigation is necessary) and timescales for completion, where this is possible. Where timescales may not be able to be determined at that time, you will be updated on progress.

Participants at the meeting may agree that a resolution can be communicated by means of a further meeting, or in writing. If it is by the former method, the decision will be communicated in writing after the meeting, within 5 working days.

You will be notified of your right to appeal against the decision made at this stage, and the timescale for submitting an appeal.

Stage 3 – Complaint heard by the Complaints Appeal Panel

If you feel your complaint has not been satisfactorily dealt with, you can appeal against the decision taken at stage 2. Your appeal should be made by writing to the Leadership and Governance Manager, who will arrange for Complaints Appeal Panel to hear your complaint.

Complaints will only be shared with members of the Local Governing Body when the previous stages have been heard, or where the complaint is against the EHT and is being considered within the Academy. The aim is to ensure their impartiality.

The panel will consist of one member who is independent of the management and running of the academy.

Your appeal should be made within 5 working days of you receiving the written confirmation of the decision at stage 2. The Leadership and Governance Manager will acknowledge your grievance within 5 working days and advise you of the arrangements for the meeting. This will normally be within 20 working days of your notification of your wish to appeal, unless otherwise agreed with you.

Your letter of appeal should include the original complaint and your reasons for why you do not agree with the decision at stage 2.

The EHT, or person(s) who heard the grievance at stage 2, will submit a report providing details of the grievance and the reasons for the decision at that stage.

At the appeal hearing, you will be invited to present your complaint to the panel, and this will be followed by the EHT or persons(s) who heard the complaint at stage 2. The committee will consider the submissions from both parties and ask questions to assist making a decision.

The panel can :

  • Dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
  • Uphold the complaint in whole or in part
  • Decide on the appropriate course of 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

Participants at the meeting may agree that a resolution can be communicated by means of a further meeting, or in writing. If it is by the former method, the decision will be communicated in writing after the meeting, within 5 working days.

4 Further action

If the complainant remains unsatisfied with the outcome of the procedure, they are able to submit their complaint to the Department for Education. The process for submitting a complaint in this way can be found by searching for “schools complaints form” on the Gov.uk web-site

5 Confidentiality 

All conversations and correspondence shall be treated with discretion. Complainants have the right to know what use will be made of personal information and, accordingly, that personal information will only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis.

6 Monitoring and Reviewing Complaints

The Local Governing Body shall receive a report on second and third stage formal complaints received, on an annual basis. This shall be to consider if there are any wider issues for action as a result of complaints raised, and not for the purposes of reconsidering the complaint.

Complaint Form

Compliments Form

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