Concerns and Complaints about Schools
Guidance notes for Parents
If you have a concern or complaint
We would like you to tell us about it. We welcome suggestions for improving our work in the school. Be assured that no matter what you want to tell us, our support and respect for you and your child in the school will not be affected in any way. Please tell us of your concern as soon as possible. It is difficult for us to investigate properly an incident or problem which has happened some time ago.
What to do first
[For primary schools: Most concerns and complaints can be sorted out quickly by speaking with your child’s class teacher.]
[For secondary schools: Most concerns and complaints can be sorted out quickly by speaking with your child’s form tutor or head of year.]
Any member of staff at the school can help you and direct you to the most appropriate person to deal with your complaint. If you have a complaint which you feel should be looked at by the headteacher in the first instance you can contact him/her straightaway if you prefer. It is usually best to discuss the problem face to face. You may need an appointment to do this, and can make one by ringing, calling or emailing the school. You can take a friend or relation to the appointment with you if you would like to do so.
All staff will make every effort to resolve your problem informally. They will make sure that they understand what you feel went wrong, and they will explain their own actions to you. They will ask what you would like the school to do to put things right. Of course, this does not mean that in every case they will come round to your point of view but it will help both you and the school to understand both sides of the question. It may also help to prevent a similar problem arising again.
What to do next
If you are dissatisfied with the teacher’s response (or with the headteacher’s initial reaction if he/she has already been involved) you can make a complaint to the headteacher. This should be made in writing.
If your complaint is about an action of the headteacher personally, then you should refer your complaint to the governing body. You can contact them through the Clerk to the Governing Body.
You may also find it helpful at this stage to have a copy of the School’s Complaints Procedures as this explains in detail what procedures are followed. This is available from the school.
The Headteacher will ask to meet you for a discussion of the problem. Again you may take a friend or someone else with you if you wish. The Headteacher will conduct a full investigation of the complaint and may interview any members of staff or pupils involved. You will receive a written response to your complaint.
Most problems can be resolved by the end of this stage.
If your complaint has not been resolved
If you are still not satisfied you may wish to contact the chair of the governing body to ask for referral of your complaint to the Local Governing Board. It will then be heard by a group of governors who have no previous knowledge of the problem, including a governor from another school within the MAT, and so will be able to give it a fresh assessment. You will be invited to attend and speak to the panel at a meeting which the headteacher will also attend. The MAT Complaints Procedure statement explains how these meetings operate.
Complaints about school problems are almost always settled within schools but in exceptional cases it may be possible to refer the problem to an outside body such as the Secretary of State for Education. Again there is more information on this in the STAR MAT Complaints Procedure.