Complaints & Procedures
Types of Concerns and Complaints:
The majority of concerns/complaints received by the school fall into the following categories:
§ financial and administrative (and breach of contract in independent schools);
§ academic (course programme, unsatisfactory teaching, too much/too little homework, progress in a particular subject etc);
§ pastoral care (discipline/indiscipline, inappropriate sanctions, bullying, overall progress of the child, unhappiness of child, accommodation etc); or
§ child protection (allegations against staff, handling of sensitive issues).
The School has long prided itself on the high quality of the teaching, pastoral care and management. However, if a situation arises where parents do have a complaint they can expect it to be treated by the School in accordance with this Procedure.
Stage 1 – Informal Resolution
· It is hoped that most complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally.
· If parents have a complaint they should normally contact their son/daughter’s Class Teacher or Tutor. In many cases, the matter will be resolved straightaway by this means to the parents’ satisfaction. If the Class Teacher cannot resolve the matter alone, it may be necessary for him/her to consult the appropriate member of staff responsible for the area of complaint or the Head Master.
· Complaints made directly to the Head Master will usually be referred to the relevant Class Teacher / Tutor the if Head Master deems it inappropriate for him to deal with the matter personally.
· The Class Teacher will make a written record of all concerns and complaints and the date on which they were received. Should the matter not be resolved within one week or in the event that the Class Teacher and the parent fail to reach a satisfactory resolution, then parents will be advised to proceed with their complaint in accordance with Stage 2 of this procedure.
Stage 2 – Formal Resolution
· If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, then the parents should put their complaint in writing to the Head Master. The Head Master will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take.
· In most cases, the Head Master will meet with the parents concerned, normally within seven days of receiving the complaint, to discuss the matter. If possible, a resolution will be reached at this stage.
· It may be necessary for the Head Master to carry out further investigations.
· The Head Master will keep written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.
· Once the Head Master is satisfied that, so far as is practicable, all of the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made and parents will be informed of this decision in writing. The Head Master will also give reasons for his/her decision.
· If parents are still not satisfied with the decision, they should proceed to Stage 3 of this Procedure.
Stage 3 – Panel Hearing
· If parents seek to invoke Stage 3 (following a failure to reach an earlier resolution), they will be referred to a Convenor, who will be appointed by the Board of Governors to call hearings of the Complaints Panel.
· The matter will then be referred to the Complaints Panel for consideration. The Panel will consist of at least three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint, one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Each of the Panel members shall be appointed by the Board of Governors. The Convenor, on behalf of the Panel, will then acknowledge the complaint and schedule a hearing to take place as soon as practicable and normally within twenty-one days.
· If the Panel deems it necessary, it may require that further particulars of the complaint or any related matter be supplied in advance of the hearing. Copies of such particulars shall be supplied to all parties not later than seven days prior to the hearing.
· The parents may be accompanied to the hearing by one other person. This may be a relative, teacher or friend. Legal representation will not normally be appropriate.
· If possible, the Panel will resolve the parents’ complaint immediately without the need for further investigation.
· Where further investigation is required, the Panel will decide how it should be carried out. After due consideration of all facts they consider relevant, the Panel will reach a decision and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within seven days of the Hearing. The Panel will write to the parents informing them of its decision and the reasons for it. The decision of the Panel will be final. The Panel’s findings and, if any, recommendations will be sent in writing to the parents, the Head Master, the Governors, and where relevant, the person complained of.
Parents can be assured that all concerns and complaints will be treated seriously and confidentially. Correspondence, statements and records will be kept confidential except in so far as is required of the School by paragraph 6(2)(j) of the Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations 2003; where disclosure is required in the course of the School’s inspection; or where any other legal obligation prevails.