St Paul’s CE Primary School
Policy for dealing with parental complaints
It is our aim at St Paul’s to work closely with all parents in a partnership which benefits all children and ensures that their school experience is happy and secure. The home/school agreement clearly states expectations of pupils, staff and parents.
When dealing with parental complaints the school adheres to guidance from the London Diocesan Board for Schools booklet ‘Parental Complaints’ January 2014
- To reaffirm the partnership between parents, staff and governors as they work together for the good of the pupils in the school
- To ensure that it is easy for parents to inform the staff and governors of any concerns they may have and that they will respond quickly and positively to complaints from parents.
What is a complaint?
From time to time parents express concerns and these are dealt with as a matter of routine through discussion with the class teacher or another member of staff. Occasionally a parental concern may become more serious and develop into a complaint and be a clear statement of dissatisfaction. This may relate to a variety of issues. Anonymous complaints are discouraged as they are difficult to deal with in a way that will be useful to all parties.
Arrangements for managing complaints
- Parents may request a copy of this policy from the school office at any time.
- The head teacher or deputy head teacher will respond to a verbal or written complaint within 24 hours of receiving it but may well need longer to fully investigate the circumstances leading to the complaint. Parents will be kept informed of time scales involved. Timescales need to be flexible to meet particular circumstances however a response will normally be provided within 5 school days.
- Procedures will then be followed as outlined in Annex A of this policy
- All complaints are handled in strict confidence and the school’s attitude to a pupil would never be affected by a parental complaint
- The school will ensure that all staff have opportunities to discuss, respond and understand the school’s response to concerns and complaints made by parents
- Any person complained against has equal rights with the person making the complaint
- The school would not seek to directly involve pupils in a complaints procedure.
The role of the head teacher
The head teacher is responsible for the internal organisation and management of the school. She therefore has overall responsibility for considering complaints in the first instance or arranging, if appropriate, for a designated member of staff to deal with them. However the head teacher must be kept fully informed of the complaint and the way in which it is being addressed.
When deciding which course of action to take over a response to a complaint the head teacher may wish to consult with the Chair of governors, the complaints officer at the local authority (LA) or the LDBS or seek advice from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).
The head teacher will keep a record of complaints received and outcomes.
The role of the governing body
The governing body is responsible for the overall conduct of the school and must ensure that a complaints procedure is in place and reviewed regularly. The head teacher will normally inform the Chair of the governing body of complaints received unless she is going to form part of any committee to hear disciplinary or capability procedures in which case she must remain untainted.
If a governor receives a complaint from a parent it will be referred to the head teacher to investigate. If the head teacher is the subject of the complaint then the Chair of the governing body will undertake the investigation.
The governing body should appoint a Complaints Committee of three governors to consider any formal written complaints should it reach this stage. A pool of governors from which this committee can be formed will be agreed at the beginning of each school year. Regard must be given to confidentiality throughout the process to ensure that governors do not become tainted and are therefore not able to serve on such a committee.
After a complaint has been dealt with it may be appropriate for the head teacher or Chair of the governing body to make a brief report to the governing body without mentioning names and protecting confidentiality.
The role of the local authority
The local authority will
- Provide guidance and advice to schools on good practice
- Provide procedures for schools for parental complaints against the curriculum and matters relating to it
- Provide advice to complainants on how to complain.
The role of the LDBS
The Diocesan Board acts in an advisory capacity to head teachers and governing bodies but does not have the power to investigate complaints.
This policy will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis