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The Complaints Procedure
This procedure is available on request to the parents/carers (parents/carers) of students of Stonham Aspal CEVA Primary School. While students may, themselves, raise concerns and complaints under this policy and procedure, the school will involve parents or carers should this occur. Please see the information for parents and carers in the SEND area of our website to find out additional information about support for SEND and complaints procedures linked to SEND concerns.
This procedure is for the benefit of students and parents/carers of students, at the School. It will be relied upon in respect of all complaints by parents/carers and students made against the School except in respect of; child protection allegations where the Safeguarding Policy applies.
The School expects that most complaints can be resolved informally through discussion with the Head or Class Teacher.
If informal procedures fail to resolve the issue, a first formal complaint about any matter aside from the above mentioned exception, must be submitted in writing to the Headteacher and will be dealt with under this Complaints Procedure. The letter should be submitted to the Headteacher with exact details and nature of the complaint and how they expect their complaint to be remedied. At this formal stage:-
- The Headteacher will respond within two school days, that they have received the complaint.
- The Headteacher will undertake an investigation of the complaint.
- The Headteacher will advise of the outcome of the investigation within a maximum of fifteen school days from receipt of the letter of complaint.
- The Headteacher will write explaining what has happened as a result of the investigation or may arrange a meeting with the complainant if necessary.
Should the matter remain unresolved at this point, a further letter explaining the exact details and nature of the complaint and how they expect their complaint to be resolved should be submitted to the Chair of Governors. At this final formal stage:-
- The Chair of Governors will respond within two school days, that they have received the complaint.
- The Chair of Governors will undertake an investigation of the complaint.
- The Chair of Governors will advise of the outcome of the investigation within a maximum of fifteen school days from receipt of the further letter of complaint.
- The Chair of Governors will write explaining what has happened as a result of the investigation or may arrange a meeting with the complainant if necessary.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the outcome following the application of the procedures outlined above, then they should make an appeal in writing to the Appeals Committee.
If the complaint remains unresolved after the exhaustion of all the above, the complainant’s only recourse thereafter is to the Local Authority.
Every complaint shall receive fair and proper consideration and a timely response. The School will do all it can to resolve the concern and to ensure that parents/carers remain confident about the quality of education their child receives at the School. Parents/carers can be assured that all complaints and expressions of concern, whether raised informally or formally, will be treated both seriously and in confidence.
Detailed Complaints Procedure
The School Complaints Procedure will:
- encourage resolution of problems by informal means wherever possible
- be easily accessible and publicised · be simple to understand and use
- be impartial
- be non-adversarial
- allow swift handling with established time-limits for action and keeping people informed of the progress
- ensure a full and fair investigation by an independent person where necessary
- respect people’s desire for confidentiality
- address all the points at issue and provide an effective response and appropriate redress, where necessary.
The School will be clear about the difference between a concern and a complaint. The School will take concerns seriously at the earliest stage to reduce the numbers that develop into complaints.
In general, most concerns and complaints should be satisfactorily dealt with at the informal or first formal stage of the above mentioned procedures.
Stage One - Informal Resolution
- It is hoped that most complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally.
- If parents/carers have a complaint they should normally contact their child’s Teacher. In many cases, the matter will be resolved straightaway by this means to the parents/carers’ satisfaction.
- The Teacher or other relevant member of staff will make a written record of all concerns and complaints and the date on which they were received.
- The School will use its reasonable endeavours to resolve any informal complaints within fifteen school days of them being raised.
- Should the matter not be resolved as referred to in paragraph 4 above, or the parents/carers fail to reach a satisfactory resolution, then the parents/carers will be advised to proceed with their complaint in accordance with the second informal stage of this procedure.
Stage Two – Informal Resolution
- If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis (as set out in paragraphs 1 to 5 above), then parents/carers should put their complaint either verbally or in writing to the Headteacher. Parents/carers should also identify how they wish their complaint to be resolved.
- The Headteacher will undertake an investigation of the complaint unless they deem it appropriate for the complaint to be investigated on their behalf.
- The Headteacher will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take.
- In most cases, the Headteacher will meet or speak with the parents/carers concerned to discuss the matter and will use reasonable endeavours to speak to or meet parents/carers within fifteen school days of the complaint being received. It is likely that for most complaints at this stage, a resolution will be reached.
- The Headteacher will keep a written record of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.
Stage Three – First Formal Resolution
- If the complaint cannot be resolved either at the informal or first formal stage (as set out in paragraphs 1 to 10 above), then parents/carers should put their complaint in writing to the Chair of Governors. Parents/carers should also identify how they wish their complaint to be resolved.
- The Chair of Governors will undertake an investigation of the complaint unless they deem it appropriate for the complaint to be investigated on their behalf.
- The Chair of Governors will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take.
- The Chair of Governors may need to meet or speak with the parents/carers concerned to discuss the matter and if appropriate will use reasonable endeavours to speak to or meet parents/carers within fifteen school days of the formal complaint being received. It is likely that for most complaints reaching this formal stage, a resolution will be reached.
- The Chair of Governors will keep a written record of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.
- Once the Chair of Governors is satisfied that, so far as is practicable, all of the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made. Parents/carers will be informed of this decision in writing, giving reasons for the decision. The decision should be provided no later than fifteen school days from that date of receipt of the formal complaint or after speaking or meeting with parents/carers to discuss the matter (pursuant to paragraph 14 above) if applicable. The Headteacher may also arrange to meet with parents/carers to explain the decision.
- The School will keep a written record of all internal formal complaints, including records of meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint. This record will state if complaints were resolved at this formal stage.
- Where parents/carers are dissatisfied with the outcome of the School’s response to their final formal complaint, the parents/carers have the opportunity to have their complaint considered by the Appeals Committee.
Stage Four – Appeal Hearing
- If parents/carers seek to invoke an independent hearing following failure to reach an earlier resolution and where dissatisfied with the decision at Stage Three in respect of their formal complaint, the parents/carers may, in writing, addressed to the Chair of the Appeals Committee, request that their complaint is further considered by the Appeals Committee as appropriate for this purpose.
- This request for further assessment of the complaint will, for the purposes of this Procedure, be known as an ‘appeal’.
- Parents/carers must lodge their appeal in writing and within ten school days of the date of the School’s decision made in Stage Three of the Procedure. The parents/carers should provide a list of their complaint(s) made against the School and which they believe to have been resolved unsatisfactorily by the Stage Three Procedure, along with the remedies sought in respect of each. The Appeals Committee is only obliged to consider the complaint(s) lodged in this ‘initial submission’ although they may use their discretion to consider other relevant and related matters that may subsequently arise.
- The Clerk provides an independent source of advice on procedure for all parties.
- Once an appeal has been received by the Clerk, he/she will acknowledge the appeal in writing within five school days, and inform the parents/carers of the steps involved in this appeal procedure.
- The Clerk will then endeavour to convene an Appeals Hearing as soon as possible to consider the matter, normally no later than twenty school days after receipt by the School of parents/carers’ written notice that they wish to invoke the Stage Four Procedure, dependent upon the availability of the Panel members.
- The Appeals Committee will consist of two members of the School’s Governing Body who have not previously been involved in the complaint and one panel member who is independent of the management and running of the school.
- The following are entitled to attend a hearing, submit written representations and address the Appeals:
- The parent/s and/or one representative;
- The Chair of Governors and/or Headteacher of the School and/or one representative; and c. Any other interested person whom the Appeals Committee considers to have a reasonable and just interest in the appeal and whose contribution would assist the Committee in their decision-making. Legal representation will not normally be appropriate.
- Where the Appeals Committee deems it necessary, it may require that further particulars of the complaint or any related matter be supplied in advance of the hearing. In such cases all parties will be given the opportunity to submit written evidence to the Appeals Committee in support of their position, including:
- documents in support of complaint(s),
- chronology and key dates relating to complaint(s), and
- written submission setting out the complaint(s) in more detail.
This evidence will be considered by the Appeals Committee, along with the initial submission that was lodged by the parents/carers.
- Evidence will be initially sent to the Clerk, who will then circulate the documentation to all parties, including the Appeals Committee members, along with an order of proceedings. All written evidence must be received by the Clerk no later than ten school days in advance of the hearing. The Clerk will distribute the written evidence to the relevant parties no later than five school days in advance of the Appeals hearing.
- It is for the Appeals Committee to decide how to conduct the proceedings of the appeal, which should be reasonably informal so that all parties can present their case effectively. If possible, the Appeals Committee will resolve the parents/carers’ complaint immediately without the need for further investigation. Where further investigation is required, the Appeals Committee will decide how it should be carried out.
- After due consideration of all the facts they consider relevant, the Appeals Committee will reach a decision, and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within ten school days of the hearing. The decision reached by the Appeals Committee is final. Any decision reached that may have financial implications for the School will need the appropriate approval from Chair of Governors, whilst aiming to remain compatible with the decision of the Appeals Committee.
- The Appeals Committee’s findings will be sent by the Clerk in writing to the parents/carers, the Chair of Governors, the Headteacher, the members of the Appeals Committee and, where relevant, the person complained of. The letter will state any reasons for the decision reached and recommendations made by the Appeals Committee.
- Should the parent remain unhappy with the outcome of the appeal, they may write to:-
Education and learning
8 Russell Road
- The School will keep a record of all appeals, decisions and recommendations of the Appeals Committee on the Student’s File and thereafter in line with standard retention requirements.
For further information please use the link below
For information about SEND please see the SEND section of our website.