Who can make a complaint?
This complaints procedure is not limited to parents or carers of children that are registered at
the school. Any person, including members of the public, may make a complaint to Common Road Infant School about any provision of facilities or services that we provide. Unless complaints are dealt with under separate statutory procedures (such as appeals relating to exclusions or admissions), we will use this complaints procedure.
The difference between a concern and a complaint
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 defined as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action’.
If anyone working in the school or college that provides education for children under 18, including supply teachers and volunteers has;
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child,
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or relating to a child,
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm
- to children or
- behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicated they may not be suitable to work with children.
Then this is a safeguarding allegation rather than a complaint and must be reported to the LADO Local Authority Designated Officer within one working day and part 4 of Keeping Children Safe in Education must be followed.
It is in everyone’s interest that concerns and complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. Many issues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of the complaints procedure. Common Road Infant School takes concerns seriously and will make every effort to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
If you have difficulty discussing a concern with a particular member of staff, we will respect your views. In these cases, Mrs D Edwards – Headteacher will refer you to another staff member. Similarly, if the member of staff directly involved feels unable to deal with a concern, Mrs D Edwards – Headteacher will refer you to another staff member. The member of staff may be more senior but does not have to be. The ability to consider the concern objectively and impartially is more important.
We understand however, that there are occasions when people would like to raise their concerns formally. In this case, Common Road Infant School will attempt to resolve the issue internally, through the stages outlined within this complaints procedure.
How to raise a concern or make a complaint
A concern or complaint can be made in person, in writing or by telephone. They may also be made by a third party acting on behalf on a complainant, as long as they have appropriate consent to do so.
Concerns should be raised with either the class teacher or headteacher. If the issue remains unresolved, the next step is to make a formal complaint.
Complainants should not approach individual governors to raise concerns or complaints. They have no power to act on an individual basis and it may also prevent them from considering complaints at Stage 2 of the procedure.
Complaints against school should be made in the first instance, to Mrs D Edwards – Headteacher via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
Complaints that involve or are about the headteacher should be addressed to Mrs S White (the Chair of Governors), via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
Complaints about the Chair of Governors, any individual governor or the whole governing body should be addressed to Ms C Allinson (the Clerk to the Governing Body) via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
Complaints from staff must be dealt with under the school’s internal grievance procedures.
For ease of use, a template complaint form is included at the end of this procedure. If you require help in completing the form, please contact the school office. You can also ask third party organisations like the Citizens Advice to help you.
In accordance with equality law, we will consider making reasonable adjustments if required, to enable complainants to access and complete this complaints procedure. For instance, providing information in alternative formats, assisting complainants in raising a formal complaint or holding meetings in accessible locations.
We will not normally investigate anonymous complaints. However, the headteacher or Chair of Governors, if appropriate, will determine whether the complaint warrants an investigation.
You must raise the complaint within three months of the incident or, where a series of associated incidents have occurred, within three months of the last of these incidents. We will consider complaints made outside of this time frame if exceptional circumstances apply.
Complaints received outside of term time
We will consider complaints made outside of term time to have been received on the first school day after the holiday period.
Scope of this Complaints Procedure
This procedure covers all complaints about any provision of community facilities or services by Common Road Infant School, other than complaints that are dealt with under other statutory procedures, including those listed below.
|Who to contact
|Admissions to schools Statutory assessments of Special Educational Needs School re organisation proposals
|Concerns about admissions, statutory assessments of Special Educational Needs, or school / academy reorganisation proposals should be raised with Wakefield Local Authority.
|Matters likely to require a Child Protection Investigation
|Complaints about child protection matters are handled under our child protection and safeguarding policy and in accordance with relevant statutory guidance.
If you have serious concerns, you may wish to contact the local authority designated officer (LADO) who has local responsibility for safeguarding or the MultiAgency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). LADO Marie Pettman firstname.lastname@example.org
|Exclusion of children from school / academy*
|Further information about raising concerns about exclusion can be found at: www.gov.uk/school /
*complaints about the application of the behaviour policy can be made through the school’s complaints procedure. See the school website.
|We have an internal whistleblowing procedure for all our employees, including temporary staff and contractors.
The Secretary of State for Education is the prescribed person for matters relating to education for whistleblowers in education who do not want to raise matters direct with their employer. Referrals can be made at: www.education.gov.uk/contactus.
Volunteer staff who have concerns about our school’s should complain through the school’s complaints procedure. You may also be able to complain direct to the LA or the Department for Education (see link above), depending on the substance of your complaint.
|Complaints from staff will be dealt with under the school / academy’s internal grievance procedures.
|Complaints about staff will be dealt with under the school / academy’s internal disciplinary procedures, if appropriate.
Complainants will not be informed of any disciplinary action taken against a staff member as a result of a complaint. However, the complainant will be notified that the matter is being addressed.
|Complaints about services provided by other providers who may use school / academy premises or facilities
|Providers should have their own complaints procedure to deal with complaints about service. Please contact them direct.
|National Curriculum – content
|Please contact the Department for Education at:
|Managing allegations against staff
|Please contact the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) See details above
|Safeguarding concerns about a child
|Please contact the MASH team (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) 0345 8503 503 consultation is necessary before referral
Minicom: 01924 303450 (type talk welcome)
If other bodies are investigating aspects of the complaint, for example the police, local authority (LA) safeguarding teams or Tribunals, this may impact on our ability to adhere to the timescales within this procedure or result in the procedure being suspended until those public bodies have completed their investigations.
If a complainant commences legal action against Common Road Infant School in relation to their complaint, we will consider whether to suspend the complaints procedure in relation to their complaint until those legal proceedings have concluded.
At each stage in the procedure, Common Road Infant School wants to resolve the complaint. If appropriate, we will acknowledge that the complaint is upheld in whole or in part. In addition, we may offer one or more of the following:
- an explanation,
- an admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better,
- an assurance that we will try to ensure the event complained of will not recur,
- an explanation of the steps that have been or will be taken to help ensure that it will not happen again and an indication of the timescales within which any changes will be made,
- an undertaking to review school / academy policies in light of the complaint,
- an apology.
Withdrawal of a Complaint
If a complainant wants to withdraw their complaint, we will ask them to confirm this in writing.
Formal complaints must be made to the headteacher (unless they are about the headteacher), via the school / academy office. This may be done in person, in writing (preferably on the Complaint Form), or by telephone.
The headteacher will record the date the complaint is received and will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing (either by letter or email) within 7 days. Within this response, the headteacher will seek to clarify the nature of the complaint, ask what remains unresolved and what outcome the complainant would like to see. The headteacher can consider whether a face to face meeting is the most appropriate way of doing this.
Note: The headteacher may delegate the investigation to another member of the school’s senior leadership team but not the decision to be taken.
During the investigation, the headteacher (or investigator) will:
- if necessary, interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be accompanied if they wish,
- keep a written record of any meetings/interviews in relation to their investigation.
At the conclusion of their investigation, the headteacher will provide a formal written response within 14 school days of the date of receipt of the complaint.
If the headteacher is unable to meet this deadline, they will provide the complainant with an update and revised response date.
The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions Common Road Infant School will take to resolve the complaint.
The headteacher will advise the complainant of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1.
If the complaint is about the headteacher, or a member of the governing body (including the Chair or Vice-Chair), a suitably skilled governor will be appointed to complete all the actions at Stage 1. Complaints about the headteacher or member of the governing body must be made to the Clerk, via the school / academy office.
If the complaint is:
- jointly about the Chair and Vice Chair or
- the entire governing body or
- the majority of the governing body
Stage 1 will be considered by an independent investigator appointed by the governing body. At the conclusion of their investigation, the independent investigator will provide a formal written response.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 1 and wishes to take the matter further, they can escalate the complaint to Stage 2 – a meeting with members of the governing body’s complaints committee, which will be formed of the first three, impartial, governors available. This is the final stage of the complaints procedure.
A request to escalate to Stage 2 must be made to the Clerk, via the school office, within 7 school days of receipt of the Stage 1 response.
The Clerk will record the date the complaint is received and acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing (either by letter or email) within 7 school days.
Requests received outside of this time frame will only be considered if exceptional circumstances apply.
The Clerk will write to the complainant to inform them of the date of the meeting. They will aim to convene a meeting within 14 school days of receipt of the Stage 2 request. If this is not possible, the Clerk will provide an anticipated date and keep the complainant informed.
If the complainant rejects the offer of three proposed dates, without good reason, the Clerk will decide when to hold the meeting. It will then proceed in the complainant’s absence on the basis of written submissions from both parties.
The complaints committee will consist of at least three governors with no prior involvement or knowledge of the complaint. Prior to the meeting, they will decide amongst themselves who will act as the Chair of the Complaints Committee. If there are fewer than three governors from Common Road Infant School available, the Clerk will source any additional, independent governors through another local school / academy or through their LA’s Governor Services team, in order to make up the committee. Alternatively, an entirely independent committee may be convened to hear the complaint at Stage 2.
The committee will decide whether to deal with the complaint by inviting parties to a meeting or through written representations, but in making their decision they will be sensitive to the complainant’s needs.
If the complainant is invited to attend the meeting, they may bring someone along to provide support. This can be a relative or friend. Generally, we do not encourage either party to bring legal representatives to the committee meeting. However, there may be occasions when legal representation is appropriate.
For instance, if a school employee is called as a witness in a complaint meeting, they may wish to be supported by union and/or legal representation.
Note: Complaints about staff conduct will not generally be handled under this complaints procedure. Complainants will be advised that any staff conduct complaints will be considered under staff disciplinary procedures, if appropriate, but outcomes will not be shared with them.
Representatives from the media are not permitted to attend.
At least 7 school days before the meeting, the Clerk will:
- confirm and notify the complainant of the date, time and venue of the meeting, ensuring that, if the complainant is invited, the dates are convenient to all parties and that the venue and proceedings are accessible
- request copies of any further written material to be submitted to the committee at least 3 school days before the meeting.
Any written material will be circulated to all parties the day prior to the meeting. The committee will not normally accept, as evidence, recordings of conversations that were obtained covertly and without the informed consent of all parties being recorded.
The committee will also not review any new complaints at this stage or consider evidence unrelated to the initial complaint to be included. New complaints must be dealt with from Stage 1 of the procedure.
The meeting will be held in private. Electronic recordings of meetings or conversations are not normally permitted unless a complainant’s own disability or special needs require it. Prior knowledge and consent of all parties attending must be sought before meetings or conversations take place. Consent will be recorded in any minutes taken.
The committee will consider the complaint and all the evidence presented. The committee can:
- uphold the complaint in whole or in part
- dismiss the complaint in whole or in part.
If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the committee will:
- decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint
- where appropriate, recommend changes to the school / academy’s systems or procedures
- to prevent similar issues in the future.
The Chair of the Committee will provide the complainant and Common Road Infant School with a full explanation of their decision and the reason(s) for it, in writing, within 7 school days. The letter to the complainant will include details of how to contact the Department for Education if they are dissatisfied with the way their complaint has been handled by Common Road Infant School.
If the complaint is:
- jointly about the Chair and Vice Chair or
- the entire governing body or
- the majority of the governing body
Stage 2 will be heard by a committee of independent governors.
The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions Common Road Infant School will take to resolve the complaint. The response will also advise the complainant of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissatisfied.
If the complainant believes the school did not handle their complaint in accordance with the published complaints procedure or they acted unlawfully or unreasonably in the exercise of their duties under education law, they can contact the Department for Education after they have completed Stage 2.
The Department for Education will not normally reinvestigate the substance of complaints or overturn any decisions made by Common Road Infant School. They will consider whether Common Road Infant School adhered to education legislation and any statutory policies connected with the complaint.
The complainant can refer their complaint to the Department for Education online at: www.education.gov.uk/contactus, by telephone on: 0370 000 2288 or by writing to:
Department for Education