Complaints Policy

Handling complaints about employees in schools with delegated budgets                                                        

Introduction and Scope

  1. The Policy of the school is to work in partnership with parents and is based on the belief that co-operation and a sense of joint purpose between staff, parents and the school will assist in ensuring open and positive relationships. From time to time, however, parents or members of the public may express concern or make a complaint, either orally or in writing, about the conduct of the Headteacher or an individual member of staff. The school will ensure that these are dealt with effectively and with fairness to all parties.

Where possible, expressions of concern/complaints will be resolved informally (see Section B). However, where it has not been possible to resolve these informally, then the formal procedures set out from Section C.

  1. Complaints
  • For the purposes of this procedure, an expression of concern or a complaint is described as an expression of dissatisfaction about the conduct of, actions or lack of action by a member of staff, unacceptable delay in dealing with a matter or unreasonable treatment of a pupil or other person.
  • This procedure does not cover complaints under legislation for which separate arrangements are in place for example those relating to the National Curriculum, collective worship, school admissions, pupil exclusions and other functions of the Governing Body.
  • Serious complaints or allegations relating to the abuse of children, assault, criminal or financial matters are also the subject of separate procedures, which may involve other agencies (See Section C).
  1. All complaints or expressions of concern, as described in 2 (a) above, about members of staff (other than the Headteacher) made by parents or other members of the public should be referred to the Headteacher even where the initial point of contact has been the Chair of the Governing Body or an individual Governor, the Education Office, a Diocesan Officer or an elected member. Governors who wish to raise concerns must refer them to the Headteacher and must not raise them at a Governors’ meeting in order to avoid any discussions by potential members of the Disciplinary and Dismissal Committee, the Disciplinary and Dismissal Appeals Committee or the Complaints Committee.
  2. At the Governors’ Annual Meeting for parents the Chair should ensure that the purpose and scope of the meeting are made clear. Any concerns about an individual member of staff must not be discussed at the meeting, and must be referred to the Headteacher for consideration.
  3. All complaints or expressions of concern, as described in 2(a) above, made about the Headteacher must be referred to the Chair of Governors. This includes concerns by Governors and any expressed at the Governors’ Annual Meeting for Parents.
  4. It is good practice to ensure that complaints are dealt with as speedily as possible and that the member of staff who is the subject of the complaint is involved at the earliest opportunity. In this procedure it is recommended that each stage of the procedure is completed, as far as is possible, within 15 school working days.
  5. Where it is clear that a complainant does not wish to pursue or wishes to withdraw a complaint, it is recommended that a written record is made of the complainant’s decision.
  6. A record of complaints, how they were dealt with and the outcome should be maintained as a separate complaints file, in the interests of the members of staff concerned and the Headteacher.

Informal Procedure – Stage 1

Generally, most complaints or expressions of concern will be dealt with within school and to timescales agreed with the member of staff expressing the concern or complaint without the need to refer to these procedures.

For example, an informal discussion with the class teacher or other relevant member of staff (possibly the headteacher) usually results in the resolution of the issues.

The framework below (i.e. B1-B9) provides best practice guidance and is intended as a support for managing the informal resolution of complaints or expressing the concern at the earliest opportunity.

  1. The member of staff against whom the complaint is made will be informed of the details in all circumstances, with a copy of any written complaint or expression of concern being provided, and invited to respond. The Headteacher must remind the member of staff that he /she may seek advice before responding, and give a copy of this procedure to the members of staff.
  2. In the light of the investigation, the Headteacher will decide how to respond to the complaint and should make the member of staff aware of the response to be made to the complainant.
  3. The Headteacher will make a response to the complainant (in writing, if appropriate, with a copy to the member of staff). The complainant should be asked if he/she accepts the explanation and the member of staff so advised. It may be necessary for the Headteacher to offer counselling or guidance to the member of staff concerned.
  1. (a) Where the explanation is accepted by the complainant the matter will be regarded as resolved.
    (b) Where the explanation is not accepted a copy of this procedure will be given to the complainant and then he / she is informed that they have a right to refer the matter to the school’s formal stage of the procedure if he/she so wishes.
    (c) In the case of either (a) or (b) the member of staff will be informed of the outcome.
  1. The Headteacher will inform the member of staff on any subsequent actions he/she intends to take, including any action under Disciplinary or Competence Procedures. Such action will only be undertaken when the complainant has accepted the explanation and the complaint has been resolved (see 4(a)). Where the complaint has not been resolved, any action will be deferred until the appropriate stages in this procedure have been exhausted, in order to protect the interests of the teacher and to avoid prejudicing the final resolution of the complaint.
  2. Any complaint or expression of concern judged by the Headteacher to be serious will be dealt with under Sections C.
  3. Anonymous complaints will not normally be dealt with unless they are sufficiently serious to refer under Section C.
  4. In the case of a complaint or expression of concern about the Headteacher, this informal stage, as outlined in B1 to 6 above, will be undertaken by the Chair of Governors who should seek the support of HR, as appropriate.

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