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Bentley Church of England

Primary School

Complaints

Purpose

Bentley CE Primary School is committed to encouraging the involvement of parents and carers in the community of the school and in their children’s education. We want communication between school staff and parents to be open, frequent, positive and trusted. However we recognise that from time to time things may occur which cause concern and it is important to have a clear policy to ensure that the correct steps are taken in order for us to work effectively together. This policy is in place to provide all parties with clear plans to follow.

Stage 1 – informal resolution

It is our aim that the vast majority of complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally and, as we state in our prospectus, we would except that the need to move to Stage 2 is only in exceptional circumstances. If parents have a complaint then they should normally contact their child’s teacher. In most cases the matter will be resolved straightaway by this means to the parent’s satisfaction.  If the teacher cannot resolve the matter alone it may be necessary to involve the headteacher. Complaints made directly to the headteacher will usually be referred to the relevant teacher unless the headteacher decides it is appropriate for them to deal with it personally. Teaching staff will keep the headteacher informed.

Stage 2 – formal resolution

Headteacher review

If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis then parents should put their complaint in writing to the headteacher. A written complaint will be formally acknowledged within 3 working days and the headteacher will then estimate how long to it will take to investigate the issue and get back to you. The headteacher will keep the Chair of Governors informed. If the complaint is in regard to Statutory Procedures or school policies then the school will provide you with copies of the school paperwork. This policy does not cover admissions, SEN decisions out with the school’s remit,   exclusions, staff grievance or disciplinary issues, financial impropriety or criminal activity, alleged child abuse or other services linked to our school.

As part of the Headteacher’s review the parent will be offered an opportunity to discuss the process and to provide the school with any further information thought relevant.

The Headteacher will keep written records of their investigations and will aim to complete the process within 10 days of the original acknowledgement. If there is any delay all parties will be informed. As soon as the relevant facts have been established the headteacher will send a written response to the parent.

Should the complaint be in regard to the headteacher then the Chair of Governors will would investigate the concern.

If parents are still not satisfied with the decision they should proceed to the second stage of formal resolution process.

Panel review

If parents seek to invoke the second stage of formal resolution they will be referred to the Governors via the Chair of Governors. The matter will then be taken to a Governing Body panel made up of two Governors who are untainted in regard to the complaint to date plus a third panel member who is independent of the management and running of the school. They will acknowledge the complaint in writing and set a date to meet and review what has happened. All parties will be invited to this meeting and all documentation requested to give the panel members a full understanding of what has gone wrong. The aim of the meeting is to resolve the parents’ complaint immediately and without the need for further investigation. The panel can:

  • dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
  • uphold the complaint in whole or in part
  • decide on the appropriate 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.

The panel will write to the parents and, where relevant, the person complained of within 15 working days to inform them of its decision and the reasons for it. This letter will also advise parents in regard to options to appeal.

If complainants remain unsatisfied with the way in which the school has handled their decision they may write to the Secretary of State to complain.

Approved by Governing Body: May 2014

Reviewed by Governing Body:  May 2016

Next review date: May 2018

Appendix i) Number of complaints registered under the formal procedure 

  This Academic Year Previous Academic Year
Number of formal complaints received    
Number of complaints which were resolved at the preliminary stage    
Number of complaints which required a panel review    

Accordion content

Appendix ii) Guidance notes for parents and carers 

Informal Stage 1

The vast majority of concerns are resolved at this stage by informal discussion between with members of staff at our schools. If you have any concerns or problems about your child or want further information about school then you are always welcome to talk to any member of staff. In most cases this will be the child’s class teacher or LSA (Learning Support Assistant) as they are best placed to help. It is always best to avoid the start of the school day as it can be very busy. Please speak to the teacher if you would like to arrange a specific time to meet after school or if you require a telephone conversation. This may not be possible that same day but teachers will endeavour to see you as soon as possible.

Confidentiality

You can expect that matters you raise will be treated in confidence, but please be aware that in order to resolve some problems  and find the best way forward a teacher may have to make further enquiries. When this is the case you can expect that this will be done with care and that all staff will be sensitive to how such circumstances may affect your child. This is true of any investigation undertaken by school at any time.

Informal Stage 2

If you feel that your concern has not been dealt with appropriately or there is a particular reason why it is awkward to approach the teacher or LSA then please make an appointment to meet with the headteacher. You can do this by contacting them directly or through the school office. The headteacher has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the school and will recognise that situations like this can be difficult and sensitive. They will take the appropriate steps to follow up your concerns and to discuss the outcome with you. Obviously some time needs to be allowed for this to take place but in most cases within a short space of time, usually 3-10 working days.

The informal stage is a verbal one and would only involve you as a parent/carer and the member of staff or the headteacher. We take your concerns very seriously and will plan agreed actions to follow through.

It is always possible to approach a school governor with a concern, however governors will always encourage you to approach the headteacher first as they are responsible for running the school and would be the person who deals with concerns. The governor will support you in doing this, if you feel that this would be helpful or alternatively you may wish to ask a friend to help you with this.

Formal Stage 1

Formal complaints need to be made to the headteacher in writing. If the complaint itself relates to the headteacher then the written complaint needs to be addressed to the Chair of Governors.

You can expect to receive written acknowledgement of your complaint from the school within 3 working days of them receiving your letter. If the complaint is covered by any of these Statutory Procedures the school will provide you with details of how these Procedures work. You will also be offered an opportunity to discuss the process and to provide the school with any further information you think should be considered. This will happen even if your concern falls outside the Statutory arrangements because the school follows similar principles to deal with other aspects of school life.

Having received the formal acknowledgement of your complaint from the headteacher you will also be given an estimated date by which you can expect a full response. The headteacher will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the process and to add further information. The headteacher will also take the appropriate steps to investigate the matter and keep written records of the investigation.

As soon as the relevant facts have been established you will receive a written response from the headteacher which includes an explanation of the decision that has been reached, the reasons for the decision and the actions that need to be taken to resolve your complaint. The headteacher may also wish to discuss this with you directly beforehand. You can expect to receive a formal response within 10 working days of the original acknowledgement of your complaint. If a delay is anticipated the school should keep you informed in writing of progress and when you are likely to receive details of the outcome of the investigation.

If complaints are in regard to the actions of the headteacher it would be the Chair of Governors who will carry out this process.

Formal Stage 2

It is extremely rare that a complaint would reach this stage but if it does the next step in the process will involve an independent and impartial review by a Panel from the Governing Body. You should write to the Governing Body requesting that your complaint proceeds to this stage. The clerk will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and will explain that a panel will meet to review your complaint within 10 working days. The Panel will consist of two governors who have had no prior involvement in the matter in question plus a third independent panel member who has nothing to do with the running and management of the school. All relevant documents relating to the complaint will be provided to the Panel beforehand.

You will receive notification of the date on which the Panel will meet 5 working days in advance of the meeting. You will also be informed that you have the right to go to the meeting and to be accompanied by a friend, representative or interpreter. The headteacher will also be invited to attend the meeting.

Discussions at the meeting will be documented but it will be as informal as possible with the main aim being to resolve the problem and to achieve reconciliation between you and the school. It provides an opportunity for you to explain your complaint and concerns, for the headteacher to explain the school’s response and for all people present to seek clarification through questions and discussion. Once the discussion has ended everyone apart from the Panel will leave the meeting and the Panel will review the matters and reach its decision.

A written decision on the complaint will be provided to you and to the school by the Panel within 15 working days. You will also be advised of what options are open to you to appeal against the decision. Parties who wish to complain about the way the school has handled their complaint can write to the Secretary of State.