MEOLE BRACE SCHOOL
- Meole Brace School is committed to investing wholeheartedly in the young people in its care, their parents and carers and the community they are part of. It is recognised however that from time to time, and despite everyone’s best intentions, parents, carers or others in the community may have concerns about the school or the services it provides.
- A concern is different to a complaint. The following definition (taken from the government’s Best Practice Advice for School Complaints Procedures 2016) may be helpful:
A ‘concern’ may be defined as ‘an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered
to be important for which reassurances are sought’
A complaint may be generally defined as an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action’.
- This procedure is intended to allow parents, carers or members of the community to raise a concern or complaint relating to the school or the services that it provides.
- An anonymous concern or complaint will not be investigated under this procedure unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- To enable a proper investigation, concerns or complaints should be brought to the attention of the school as soon as possible. In general, any matter raised more than 3 months after the event took place will not be considered.
- Concerns will be dealt with informally (see below) and all efforts will be made to provide relevant and appropriate information as soon as possible.
- Complaints will be responded to in writing within 15 school working days (apart from in exceptional circumstances which will be notified). The school will attempt to resolve complaints as quickly as possible.
- This procedure applies to complaints about the school only. Complaints about Governors are dealt with separately through the Governing Body Complaints Procedure available on the school website.
- The following matters are not covered by this Complaints Procedure and should be referred to Shropshire Council:
- Admissions to schools
- Statutory assessments of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
- School re-organisation proposals
- Matters likely to require a Child Protection Investigation
- Permanent exclusions
Raising a concern or complaint
(Please follow the flow chart – Appendix 4)
Informal Stage: Discussion with staff
We encourage anyone with a concern to talk to us as soon as possible so that we can endeavour to resolve it quickly and effectively at an early stage. It is normally appropriate to communicate directly with the member of staff concerned. This may be by letter, by telephone or in person by appointment requested via the school office. Many concerns can be resolved by simple clarification or the provision of information. It may be appropriate to address serious concerns directly to the Headteacher. If you are uncertain about whom to contact, please seek advice from the school office.
We also encourage anyone with a complaint to follow this stage. Many complaints can be resolved through an informal discussion with the member of staff concerned.
A School Meeting Request Form is provided to assist you and is a useful starting point to inform a discussion. (Appendix 1).
If your concern or complaint is not resolved at the informal stage, you may choose to put the details in writing and pass them to Headteacher who will be responsible for ensuring that it is investigated appropriately. Complaints about the Headteacher should be passed to the school office for the attention of the Chair of the Governing Body.
A School Complaint Form is provided to assist you and should be used for the submission of all Formal Complaints (Appendix 2).
You should include details which might assist the investigation, such as names of potential witnesses, dates and times of events, and copies of relevant documents. It is very important that you include a clear statement of the actions that you would like the school to take to resolve your complaint. Without this it is much more difficult to proceed. Please pass the completed form, in a sealed envelope, to the school office. The envelope should be addressed to the Headteacher or to the Chair of the Governing Body, as appropriate.
If a complaint reaches a Formal Stage a progress report will be logged by the school and any action taken in dealing with the complaint will be reported on a timeline. This will be filed alongside any records and outcomes of communications regarding the complaint. Any meetings relating to the complaint will be recorded. This information will be held on file by the school’s administration office. Any information recorded as part of the complaint will be treated confidentially.
Formal Stage 1: Complaint dealt with by Headteacher
The complaint will be dealt with by the Headteacher (if not the subject of the complaint, otherwise it will be undertaken by the Chair of Governors) and he/she may invite you to a meeting to explore the possibility of a resolution. If you accept that invitation you may be accompanied by a friend if you wish, to assist you in explaining the nature of your complaint. It is possible that your complaint will be resolved through this meeting with the Headteacher. If not, arrangements will be made for the matter to be fully investigated, using the appropriate procedure. You will be informed within 5 working school days of the School Complaint Form being received by the school, or of the meeting with the Headteacher, of how the school intends to proceed. This notification will include an indication of the anticipated timescale. Any investigation will begin as soon as possible and when it has been concluded, you will be informed of its conclusion. This will be within 15 working school days following written notification, save in exceptional circumstances (of which you will be informed)
Formal Stage 2: Complaints process reviewed by Chair of Governors
If you are not satisfied with the way in which the complaints process has been followed you may request a review by the Chair of Governors. Any such request must be made in writing, to the Chair of the Governing Body, within 10 working school days of you receiving notice of the outcome of Stage 1 from the Headteacher. This should include a statement specifying any perceived failures to follow the procedure.
The School Complaint Form previously submitted will be used to inform the Chair of Governors of the complaint under investigation. The complaints process will be reviewed by the Chair of Governors and he/she may invite you to a meeting with the Headteacher to clarify any issues and to explore the possibility of a resolution at this stage. If you accept that invitation, you may be accompanied by a friend if you wish. It is hoped that the complaint can be resolved at this stage and the Chair of Governors will attempt to do this if possible. The Chair of Governors will inform you of the outcome of the review within 10 school working days of either your complaint being referred to him/her, or of the date of an agreed meeting, save in exceptional circumstances (of which you will be informed).
Formal Stage 3: Complaints process reviewed by the school Governing Body
If having had your complaint reviewed by the Chair of Governors you are still not satisfied with the way the complaints process has been followed, you may request that the Governing Body carries out a review. Any such request must be made in writing to the Chair of the Governing Body Complaints Committee, within 10 school working days of receiving notice of the outcome of Stage 2. This should include a statement specifying any perceived failures to follow the procedure.
A School Complaint Review Request Form is provided to assist you and should be used for all Governing Body Complaints Committee formal complaints review requests (Appendix 3).
Governing Body Complaints Committee Review Process
Any review of the process followed by the school will be conducted by a panel of 3 members of the Governing Body Complaints Committee. This will usually take place within 15 working school days of receiving your School Complaint Review Request Form, unless a longer period is required, in which case the Chair of the Complaints Committee will inform you of the reason why. The review will normally be conducted through a consideration of written submissions, but reasonable requests to make oral representations will be considered sympathetically. The Committee will not deal with any new issues or concerns at this stage, either verbally or in writing, by the complainant and will refer to the original submission in the School Complaint Form submitted. The Chair of the Complaints Committee will notify you in writing, of the Committee’s response within 5 school working days of the review meeting.
This is the last stage of the school complaints process. If you are still dissatisfied, you can write to the Secretary of State for Education at the Department for Education.
What to Do If the Complaint Is About the Headteacher
Complaints about the Headteacher that the complainant cannot or does not wish to raise directly with the Head should, in the first instance, be sent to the Chair of Governors who will investigate the matter as set out above in Stage 1 and Stage 3 if required.
All forms can be sent electronically by request to:
Policy last reviewed and updated October 2016
Agreed at Governing Body Meeting on: 23rd November 2016
This complaints procedure has been produced with reference to the Department of Education’s Best Practice Advice for School Complaints Procedures 2016, which contains further useful advice and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/489056/Best_Practice_Advice_for_School_Complaints_2016.pdf