If you have a complaint...
Morland Primary School
is committed to providing the best education for our young
people and want our pupils to be healthy, happy and safe and to do well. 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 and the following procedure
sets out the steps that should be followed in order to resolve these as quickly
and informally as possible.
bodies are required, under Section 29 of the Education Act 2002, to have in place
a procedure for dealing with complaints. It is expected that all complaints
will be referred to the school in the first instance. In situations where it
has not been possible to settle a complaint through this process the Local
Authority may be able to advise parents/carers and the school in order to help
resolve difficulties, but will not be able to become involved if the steps set
out below have not been followed.
STEP 1 – A First Informal Meeting
The complainant should start by telling
the class teacher or head of year about their concern/concerns. This is usually
the best and quickest way of resolving issues.
It is recommended that the complainant makes
an appointment to speak to the class teacher or head of year as soon as
possible as this will give both parties the opportunity to talk about the issue
in an appropriate manner and without being interrupted.
It is important that the complainant
recognises that schools are busy organisations and it may not be possible to
offer an appointment straight away.
The purpose of the meeting should be to
establish the nature of the concern and to seek a realistic resolution to the problem.
It is good practice for the class teacher
or head of year to make a brief written record of
the concern raised and any actions agreed.
STEP 2 –
A Second Informal Meeting
If the complainant feels dissatisfied with the outcome
of discussions with the class teacher or head of year, they should ask for an
appointment to meet with the Headteacher or a member of the leadership team or
purpose of this meeting should be to establish the nature of the ongoing
concern, what has been discussed with the class teacher so far and any actions
arising from the initial meeting
· It is
in everyone's interest, particularly the child or children, for concerns to be
sorted out quickly and smoothly.
However, it may be that the Headteacher or
leadership team member will need to look into what has happened since the
initial meeting before they can suggest how the complainant’s concern might be
resolved. If this is the case, it should be agreed how and within what
timescale they will contact the complainant to let them know the outcome of their
enquiries and what actions they have taken/propose to take.
Headteacher or leadership team member will make a brief written record of the
concern discussed and what has been agreed and to write to the complainant summarising
It is hoped that most problems will have
been resolved at this stagethrough the informal process.
STEP 3 - Formal
Complaint Letter to the Headteacher
If the complainant feels that the issue/issues raised
has/have not been resolved through the informal process and they wish to pursue
it further the complainant may raise it through the formal procedure. To do
this the complainant must write a formal letter of complaint to the Headteacher
(the complainant may use the form available through our link below). The
complainant’s letter should set out clearly the concern which has previously
been discussed and why the complainant feels that the issue is unresolved. It
is also helpful if the complainant can set out in their letter what resolution they
Moving to the formal complaints procedure
is a serious step. In
consideration of future home/school relationships everyone
concerned will need to concentrate on finding a resolution to the issue
and negotiate an agreement as to how this can best be achieved.
The Headteacher will consider the
complaint and in doing so should:
- establish what has happened so far,
and who has been involved;
- clarify the nature of the complaint and
what remains unresolved;
- meet or contact the complainant if they
need further information;
- clarify what the complainant feel would
put things right if this has not been set out in the complainantr letter;
interview those involved in the matter
and/or those complained of, allowing them to be accompanied if
- conduct any interview with an open mind
and be prepared to persist in the questioning;
- keep notes of any
interview for the record. The Headteacher will keep in mind ways in
which a complaint can be
It might be sufficient to acknowledge that the
complaint is valid in whole or in part. In addition, it may be appropriate to
offer one or more of the following
- an explanation;
- an admission that the situation could have
been handled differently or better (n.b. this is not an admission of negligence);
- an assurance that the event complained of will
complainant is unhappy about the decision the Headteacher has made about the their
complaint, this does not become a complaint about the Headteacher. If the
complainant feels that the complaint has not been resolved the complainant
should move to Step 4 of the procedure.
If the complainant has a concern or complaint that is specifically about
the Headteacher and which has not been resolved at the informal stage, then the
complainant must write a formal letter of complaint to the Chair of Governors.
The school will provide the complainant with the Chair of Governors' name and the
complainant should write to him or her at the school address, marking the
envelope 'urgent, private and confidential'.
The Chair of Governors will
acknowledge receipt of the letter within 5 school days and contact the
Area Officer, Learning and Improvement at the Local Authority for advice.
need to be considered and resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. As
such, complaints made under this procedure must only relate to incidents or
concerns occurring within the last 12 months. The complainant’s
complaint will not usually be able to be considered if the their child no
longer goes to the school.
Exclusions to the procedure:
Curriculum Complaints - Local
Authorities are required to have arrangements for considering complaints about
the school curriculum and collective worship under the terms of Section 23 of
the Education Reform Act 1988. The school will refer the complainant to this
procedure where appropriate.
Safeguarding referrals -
schools have a duty to safeguard and promote the. welfare of their pupils under
section 175 of the Education Act 2002. This includes making referrals to the
appropriate organisation, usually local authority children's social care
services, if they have a concern about the welfare of a child. It is not for
the school to investigate or make a judgment about possible abuse or neglect
but they must refer any concerns they may have. As such,
complaints about safeguarding referrals made in accordance with a statutory
duty will not be considered under this procedure.
Allegations of abuse -
allegations of abuse against a member of school staff must be reported to the
Headteacher immediately. Allegations of abuse against the Headteacher must be
reported to the Chair of Governors immediately. In all cases the Suffolk
Safeguarding Children Board Arrangements for Managing Allegations Of Abuse Against People Who Work With Children Or
Those Who Are In Positions Of Trust must be followed.
majority of complaints are resolved through a properly managed complaints
procedure. However, there are occasions when despite
all stages of the procedure having been followed, the complainant remains
dissatisfied. If a complainant tries to reopen the same issue the Chair of
Governors may write informing them that all stages of the procedure have been
exhausted and the matter is considered to be closed. complainants
behave in an unreasonable manner when raising and/or pursuing concerns. In
these circumstances the school may take action in accordance with Vexatious Complaints Policy of
STEP 4: - Complaints not resolved through theformal
process If the
complainant believes that the school has not properly followed its complaints
procedure or has not acted fairly or reasonably in responding to the complaint the
complainant may refer the matter to the Local Authority. The Local Authority
has no legal right or duty to deal with most complaints about schools but will
provide advice to the parent/carer and governing body in the event that a
complaint which has been considered under the formal procedure remains
unresolved or if the complaint is specifically about the Headteacher.
complainant will need to write to the Local Authority giving the details of their
complaint, what action they have already taken to try and resolve their
complaint and attaching a copy of the written response from the school.
The Local Authority will contact the
complainant to confirm the details of their complaint and seek further
information where necessary.
Initial consideration will be given to the
circumstances of the complaint and the procedure followed by the
The Local Authority will come to a recommendation - either:
- that a thorough investigation has been fairly
undertaken by the school and that an appropriate response has been made in
accordance with the findings; or
- that the complaint merits further
investigation (it will be referred back to the school in this case)
The Local Authority will notify the
complainant in writing of the recommendation and what will
On conclusion of Step 4, the complainant may ask for the complainantr complaint
to be heard by a committee of the governing body. The Local
Authority officer will advise the complainant how this can be arranged.
Finally, if on conclusion of all 4 steps of this procedure the complainant
feel that the school's governing body and/or the Local Authority has acted
unreasonably the complainant may make a complaint in writing to the Secretary
of State for Education. The complainant may contact the Department for
Education by writing to:
Department for Education
Castle View House
or by telephoning: 0870 000 2288
Please complete and return to Mr. K.
Marrable – Headteacher, Morland Primary School, who will acknowledge receipt
and explain what action will be taken.
FOR DEALING WITH PERSISTENT OR VEXATIOUSCOMPLAINTS/HARASSMENT
Headteacher and staff deal with specific complaints as part of their day-to-day
management of the school in accordance
with the School's Complaints Procedure.
Themajority of complaints are handled
in an informal manner and are resolved quickly, sensitively and to the
satisfaction of the complainant.
However, there are occasions when complainants behave in an unreasonable
manner when raising and/or pursuing concerns. In these circumstances the school
may take action in accordance with this policy.
1. Aims of
- uphold the standards of courtesy and
reasonableness that should characterise all communication between the School
and persons who wish to express a concern or pursue a complaint
- support the well-being of students, staff and
everyone else who has legitimate interest in the work of the School, including
governors and parents
- deal fairly, honestly and properly with
those who make persistent or vexatious complaints and those who harass members
of staff in school while ensuring that other stakeholders suffer no detriment.
2. Human Rights
this policy the School will seek to ensure that its actions are in accordance
with its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Convention Rights
embodied within it in order to protect the Human Rights of both persistent
complainants and all other stakeholders.
3. Parents Expectation of the School
Parents/carers/members of the public who raise either informal or formal
issues or complaints with the School can expect the School to:
regularly communicate to parents/carers in
how and when problems can be raised with
the existence of the School's complaints
existence of the Policy for Dealing with Persistent or Vexatious Complaints
and/or Harassment in Schools
respond within a reasonable time
be available for consultation within
reasonable time limits bearing in mind the needs of the pupils/students within
the school and the nature of the complaint
respond with courtesy and respect
attempt to resolve problems using
reasonable means in line with the School's complaints procedure, other policies
and practice and in line with guidance and advice from the Local Authority
keep complainants informed of progress
towards a resolution of the issues raised
4. The School’s expectations
of parents/Carers/Members of the Public
4.1 The School can expect parents/carers/members of the public who wish
to raise problems with the school to:
treat all school staff with courtesy and
respect the needs and well-being of pupils
and staff in the School
avoid any use, or threatened use, of
violence to people or property
avoid any aggression or verbal abuse
recognise the time constraints under which
members of staff in schools work and allow the School a reasonable time to
recognise that resolving a specific
problem can sometimes take some time
(in the case of a complaint) follow the
School's Complaints Procedure
5. Who is a Persistent Complanant
5.1 For the purpose of this policy, a
persistent complainant is a parent/carer or member of the public who complains
about issues, either formally or informally, or frequently raises issues that
the complainant considers to be within the remit of the School and whose
behaviour is unreasonable. Such behaviour may be characterised by:
actions which are obsessive, persistent,
harassing, prolific, repetitious
prolific correspondence or excessive
e-mail or telephone contact about a concern or complaint
an insistence upon pursuing unsubstantial
complaints and/or unrealistic or unreasonable outcomes
an insistence upon pursuing complaints in
an unreasonable manner
an insistence upon repeatedly pursuing a
complaint when the outcome is not satisfactory to the complainant but cannot be
changed, for example, if the desired outcome is beyond the remit of the school
because it is unlawful.
5.2 For the purpose of this policy, harassment is
the unreasonable pursuit of such actions as in (a) to (e) above in such a way
appear to be targeted over a significant
period of time on one or more members of
cause ongoing distress to individual
member( s) of school staff and/or
have a significant adverse effect on the
whole/parts of the school community and/or
are pursued in a manner which can be
perceived as intimidating and oppressive by the recipient. This could include
situations where persistent demands and criticisms, whilst not particularly
taxing or serious when viewed in isolation, have a cumulative effect over time
of undermining confidence, well-being and health.
6. THE SCHOOL'S ACTIONS IN CASES OF PERSISTENT OR VEXATIOUSCOMPLAINTS OR
6.1 In the first instance the School will verbally inform the
complainant that his/her behaviour is considered to be becoming
unreasonable/unacceptable and, if it is not modified, action may be taken in
accordance with this policy.
6.2 This will be confirmed in
6.3 If the
behaviour is not modified the School will take some or all of the following
actions as necessary, having regard to the nature of the complainant's
behaviour and the effect of this on the school community:
inform the complainant in writing that
their behaviour is now considered by the School to be unreasonable and or
unacceptable and, therefore, fall under vthe 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
inform the complainant that, except in
emergencies, all routine communication with the complainant to the School
should be by letter only
in the case of physical or verbal
aggression the school will refer to Joint Local Authority-Police Guidance for
Schools, "Dealing with Abuse, Threats and Violence Towards School Staff',
and consider warning the complainant about being banned from the School site;
or proceed straight to a temporary ban. Guidance on this matter will be taken from
the Area Education Manager
advice may be sought from the Local
Authority on pursuing a case under AntiHarassment legislation
6.4 Legitimate new complaints will still be
considered even if the person making them is, or has been, subject to the
Policy for Dealing with Persistent or Vexatious Complaints and/or Harassment in
Schools. In these circumstances advice may be sought from the Local Authority.
6.5 If a complainant's persistent
complaining/harassing behaviour is modified and is then resumed at a later date
within a reasonable period of time, the School may resume the process
identified above at an appropriate level. In these circumstances advice may be
sought from the Local Authority.
7.1 The School
will review as appropriate, and at aminimum once in a school year, any
sanctions applied in the context of this policy.