At Alexander McLeod Primary School we hope that you will be happy with your children’s education. On occasions, however, a concern may arise. The great majority of concerns can be sorted out informally through meeting with key members of staff in school. If you feel that we have not taken action over a significant problem or that we have made the wrong decision and you now wish to make a formal complaint, the procedures are outlined in this policy.
To establish a procedure for dealing with complaints relating to the school, as required by section 3a of the School Standards and Framework Act.
Scope of the policy
All matters relating to the actions of staff and application of school procedures where they affect the individual pupils concerned, except matters relating to the curriculum, exclusion, admissions, which are subject to separate procedures.
An anonymous complaint will not be investigated under this procedure unless there are exceptional circumstances.
To allow for a proper investigation, complaints should be brought to the attention of the school as soon as possible. Any matter which is raised more than 3 months after the event being complained of will not be considered, unless in exceptional circumstances.
Initial investigation of any complaint will begin within 5 school days of receipt except in exceptional circumstances. The investigation will be completed as soon as reasonably practicable.
Part A Complaining about the actions of a member of staff other than the Head Teacher.
Stage 1 – Informal
We hope that all concerns can be resolved at this stage.
The complainant is normally expected to arrange to communicate directly with the member of staff concerned. This may be by letter, by telephone or in person by appointment. Many concerns can be resolved by simple clarification or the provision of information and it is anticipated that most complaints will be resolved by this informal stage. In the case of serious concerns it may be appropriate to address them directly to the Head Teacher. An unreasonable refusal to attempt an informal resolution may result in the procedure being terminated forthwith. Any dispute in relation to the “reasonableness” may be determined through the review process.
Stage 2 - Formal
Please follow flowchart below
The complainant should include details which might assist the investigation, such as names of potential witnesses, dates and times of events, and copies of relevant documents. In addition the Head Teacher may meet with the complainant to clarify the complaint.
The Head Teacher will collect such other evidence as is deemed necessary. Where this involves an interview with a member of staff, who is the subject of the complaint, that member of staff may be accompanied by a friend or representative if they wish.
Complaining about the actions of the Head Teacher
1) Informal stage
The complainant is usually expected to arrange to speak directly with the Head Teacher. In the case of serious concerns it may be appropriate to raise them directly with the Chair of the Governing Body. Many concerns can be resolved by simple clarification or the provision of information. If the matter is not resolved, if both parties agree, then a third party may be invited to act as a mediator at a further meeting. A refusal, unreasonably, to attempt an informal resolution may result in the procedure being terminated forthwith.
2) Formal Stage
Please follow flowchart below
The Chair of Governors may meet with the complainant to clarify the complaint and will collect such other evidence as is deemed necessary. Where this involves an interview with a member of staff, who is the subject of the complaint, that member of staff may be accompanied by a friend or representative if they wish.
The Head Teacher will be provided with a copy of the complaint and any additional evidence presented by the complainant or collected by the Chair. Once there has been an opportunity for the Head Teacher to consider this, he/she will be invited to meet separately with the Chair, in order to present written and oral evidence in response. The Head Teacher may be accompanied at this meeting by a friend or representative.
When the investigation has been concluded, the complainant and the Head Teacher will be informed in writing of the outcome. The complainant will not be informed of any disciplinary/capability action.
The complainant will be told that consideration of their complaint by the Chair is now concluded.
Part C Review Process
Any review of the process followed by the Head Teacher or the Chair shall be conducted by a panel of three members of the Governing Body.
The review will normally be conducted through a consideration of written submissions, but reasonable requests to make oral representations should be considered sympathetically.
- a) The panel will first receive written evidence from the complainant.
- b) The panel will then invite the Head Teacher or the Chair, as appropriate, to make a response to the complaint.
- c) The panel may also have access to the records kept of the process followed.
- d) The complainant, and the Head Teacher or the Chair, as appropriate, will be informed in writing of the outcome.
This may be to the effect that:
- There is insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion, so the complaint cannot be upheld
- The concern is not substantiated by the evidence
- The concern was substantiated in part or in full but that the procedural failure did not affect the outcome significantly so the matter is now closed.
- The concern was substantiated in part or in full and the Governing Body will take steps to prevent a recurrence or to rectify the situation (where this is practicable).
The complainant is not entitled to access to any details of the investigation except for any statements that may have been provided by their child. Any information relating to the application of disciplinary procedures is strictly confidential.
If a complainant believes that the Governing Body has acted illegally or arbitrarily in handling the complaint, then the complainant may make representations to the Secretary of State for Education.