School Name: Alfred Sutton Primary School
Vision for the school:
For all our pupils to be happy, safe and successful in their learning and their relationships
For all adults (staff, parents, stakeholders) to work in the best interests of the children
We recognise the importance of establishing and maintaining good relationships with parents, carers and the wider community. We are aware that there may be occasions where people have concerns or complaints. The following procedure sets out the steps that should be followed in order to resolve these as fairly, quickly and informally as possible.
Individual complaints WILL NOT be discussed at Governing Body meetings. If a panel of governors considers a complaint, the recommendations from the panel will be shared with the Governing Body.
This is an RBC adopted policy based on guidelines to comply with legal requirements.
Aims of the policy:
To maintain good communication and relationships between the school and persons who wish to express a concern or pursue a complaint
To support the wellbeing of students, staff and everyone else who has legitimate interest in the work of the school, including governors and parents
To provide a clear and fair procedure for the resolution of concerns or complaints
School governing bodies are required, under Section 29 of the Education Act, 2002, to have in place a procedure for dealing with complaints.
This procedure applies for any person, including a governor, with a specific complaint concerning a pupil or member of staff.
Links to other policies:
At Alfred Sutton Primary School, we believe that all individuals and groups should receive equal access and opportunities to develop and learn. This procedure is part of our work to ensure there is no discrimination arising from all protected characteristics.
The Governing Body will receive termly reports of the number of complaints reaching the formal stages of the procedure. Individual complaints WILL NOT be discussed at Governing Body meetings. If a panel of governors considers a complaint, the recommendations from the panel will be shared with the Governing Body.
Date of governor approval: June 2021
Review arrangements: every 3 years; next due June 2024
To complain about the conduct of a particular teacher where the investigations would be carried out under the school staff discipline procedures, which remain in the professional domain with the hearing and appeal being heard by a panel of governors; disciplinary action is taken at the discretion of the headteacher
To complain about the curriculum or acts of Collective Worship, a separate procedure applies
If, at any stage, a complaint raises a concern that a member of staff isn’t suitable to work with children, the LADO should be consulted as well as following any other HR procedure.
Access & Assessment (Referral Manager, 0118 9373641)
3.Advice for parents making a complaint can be obtained from:
The Advisory Centre for Education www.ace-ed.org.uk, tel: 0207 704 3370
Reading Borough Council’s parent helpline, tel: 0118 937 2265
Parent Partnership (For parents of children with Special Educational Needs), tel: 0118 9399821
4.If, after exhausting all stages of the complaints procedure, the complainant feels the school or Local Authority has acted unreasonably they may make a complaint in writing to the Secretary of State for Education at the Department for Education:
Department for Education, Castle View House, East Lane, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 2GJ or by telephoning: 0370 0002288
PART A: General complaints concerning a pupil or member of staff
Informal Step 1
Any complaint must first be raised in discussion with the class teacher concerned to clarify the situation and to try to reach an early, mutually acceptable resolution.
Informal Step 2
If the complaint is unresolved at Step 1 the complainant should ask for a meeting with the headteacher to try to reach an early mutually acceptable resolution.
A complainant should receive a response to a complaint within five working days of receipt of the complaint at either step in stage 1.
Should the complainant be dissatisfied with the resolution proposed at Stage1, they may ask for a Headteacher Investigation of their complaint. The headteacher or another senior member of staff would normally conduct the investigation.
To escalate to this stage the complainant must write to the Head giving details of the complaint and the reasons why they are dissatisfied with the stage 1 resolution. The written complaint may be in the form of a letter, e-mail or on the form provided on page 10.
A complainant should receive an acknowledgement of their request for an escalation to stage 2 within 5 working days giving an indication of when the investigation will be complete and when the complainant should receive a full response. In any case the complainant should have a full response within 15 working days. In circumstances where the case is so complex that the investigation is going to take longer the complainant should be kept fully informed of progress in the case.
Should the complainant remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the Professional Investigation stage they have the right to request a review by a panel of Governors.
To escalate to this stage the complainant must write to the Chair of the Governing Body at the school address requesting the review and giving their reasons for being dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 2. The written complaint may be in the form of a letter, e-mail or on the form provided on page 10.
The process for resolving the complaint will be shared with the complainant and a time scale no longer than 20 working days will be agreed to bring the complaint before the Governing Body complaints panel.
On receiving a review request the Chair will call a meeting of the Governing Body complaints panel comprising of no fewer than two governors to hear the complaint (see Guidance on Dealing with Complaints for a model panel procedure)
The panel will:
• dismiss the complaint in whole or in part;
• uphold the complaint in whole or in part;
• or, decide there is insufficient evidence to make a decision
The panel may also:
• recommend appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint;
• recommend a review of the relevant school systems or procedures to ensure that problems of a similar nature do not recur.
The decision of the Governing Body complaints panel will be final in most cases. The main exceptions are exclusions, curriculum and statutory admissions where separate procedures are available.
PART B: Child Protection Allegations against members of staff (including the Head)
If a child or parent alleges that a member of staff has abused or harmed the child, the matter must be referred immediately to the Head. The Head must then without delay contact Sean Capewell, Designated Officer (Allegations Management), in accordance with the child protection procedures.
If a child or parent alleges that a Head has abused or harmed their child, the matter must be referred right away to the Chair of Governors. The Chair of Governors must then without delay contact Children’s Services in accordance with the child protection procedures www.reading.gov.uk/childrensreferralform, Children’s single point of access 0118 9373641.
Flowchart of actions for Child Protection Allegations against members of staff (including the Head)
PART C: Complaints concerning the Head or a governor
Stage 1 (Informal)
Stage 2 (Formal)
Procedure for investigating complaints concerning the Head or Governing Body
1. When using the procedure, the Chair of the Governing Body would appoint an investigating
officer. (The investigating officer then works as an independent adviser to the Governing
2. On receipt of the complaint the investigating officer will write to the complainant and
arrange a meeting to clarify and agree the exact nature of the complaint. The process for resolving the complaint will be shared with the complainant and a time scale no longer than 20 working days will be agreed to bring the complaint before the Governing Body complaints
panel. (This is an important stage for the avoidance of doubt at subsequent stages.)
3. The investigating officer will then make appointments to speak with the Head governor and
any other relevant person. (The purpose of this stage is to enable the complaint to be put,
answers to be given and evidence to be collected.)
4. When the investigating officer is satisfied that he/she is in receipt of all the relevant
evidence he/she will prepare a report. The report will consider the complaint in detail, in the light of all the evidence, draw conclusions as to whether the complaint is upheld, not
upheld, unproven or partially upheld and make recommendations.
5. When the draft report is complete it will be shared in the first instance with the Head and
the complainant, who will be invited to make comments on points of factual accuracy. 6. The investigating officer should attend the panel meeting to answer any questions and make
any points of clarification required by the committee.
NOTE: The investigation report to a governor panel does NOT form part of any staff HR procedure. If, as a result of the investigation, an HR procedure needs to be followed, the situation will have to be investigated again under the remit of the HR procedure.
It is important not to confuse complaints from parents with issues about staff discipline or capability, which are dealt with under HR policies and procedures.
PART D: Dealing with unreasonably persistent complaints and unreasonable complainant behaviour
However, there are a small number of complainants who, because of the frequency, nature and quality of their contact with the School, hinder our consideration of theirs, or other people’s, complaints. We refer to such complainants as ‘unreasonably persistent complainants’ and, exceptionally, we will take action to limit their contact with the School.
a) inform the complainant in writing that his/her behaviour is now considered by the School to be unreasonable/unacceptable and, therefore, to fall under the terms of this policy
b) inform the complainant that all meetings with a member of staff will be conducted with a second person present and that notes of meetings may be taken in the interests of all parties
c) inform the complainant that, except in emergencies, all routine communication with the complainant to the School should be by letter only
d) (in the case of physical or verbal aggression) refer to the guidance for schools, on dealing with abuse, threats and violence towards school staff”, and consider warning the complainant about being banned from the School site; (Advice is available from the Local Authority Legal Team)
e) consider taking advice from the Local Authority on pursuing a case under Anti-Harassment legislation