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The information below summarises each stage of the process; it sets out 3 stages of a school complaints procedure that includes 2 formal stages.

  • Stage 1 - Informal

    The complaint is dealt with by an appropriate staff member (who is not the subject of the complaint). 

    In the vast majority of cases, a concern can and should be resolved by contacting the appropriate member of staff e.g. the subject teacher, head of year, form tutor or other designated staff member directly involved with the reported problem. 

    The initial communication from the complainant to the member of staff can be by letter, telephone conversation or in person by appointment. The complainant must allow the designated staff member at least 5 days to respond to the concern. 

    If this does not lead to a resolution of the problem then the concern/complaint must be referred to the next stage of the process which is the commencement of the formal process. 

  • Stage 2 - Formal (if unresolved at Stage 1) The complaint is heard by the Head Teacher

    If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response from the member of staff at Stage 1 they should be advised to put their complaint in writing, or speak, to the Headteacher who will deal with it formally at Stage 2. Appendix A should be used whenever possible. Where the Headteacher is the subject of the complaint, the complainant should be advised to address it to the Chair of Governors and the complaint is heard by the Chair of Governors or other appropriate person. 

    The complainant must ensure that they include details of why they are still dissatisfied and what action they would like to resolve the complaint. They can also attach any evidence to support their concerns. 

    The Headteacher must acknowledge the complaint within 5 school days by writing to the complainant. The acknowledgement should state a further communication will follow, within 20 school days that will set out the actions taken to investigate the complaint and the findings. 

    The Headteacher can delegate another senior member of staff to carry out the investigation and report their findings to them. The Headteacher will then reach a conclusion based on the investigation. All notes relating to the investigation will be kept on file. If the investigating officer feels it necessary to meet with the complainant then notes will be produced of the meeting. 

    The investigating officer will then compile a report detailing their findings. Any recommendations or actions proposed must be considered by the Head Teacher. 

    Once satisfied that the investigation has been concluded and a decision has been reached, the Headteacher must notify the complainant in writing of the conclusion and any actions that will be taken as a result. The decision will be communicated by the Headteacher to the complainant in writing or, if appropriate, meet with them first to communicate their findings and then confirm in writing afterwards. 

    The complainant is also informed if they are still dissatisfied they can write, or talk to the Governing Body directly via the school or, Governor Services or School Management Support at Newham Partnership Working outlining why they feel the complaint is unresolved. 

  • Stage 3 – Formal (if not resolved at Stage 2)

    The complaint is heard by a panel of the Governing Board. This is the final stage of the process. 

    If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response from the Headteacher or Chair of Governors (or Vice-Chair) at Stage 2 they should be advised that the next stage is to put their complaint in writing, or speak, to the School Governing Board at Stage 3. 

    The complainant must ensure that they include details of why they are still dissatisfied with the decision of the Chair, recommendations, and actions of the Stage 2 complaint and what they feel would resolve the matter. They can also attach any evidence to support their concerns in addition to that submitted at Stages 1 and 2. 

    The complaint will be acknowledged within 10 school days. 

    The complaint is considered by a panel of Governors who form a complaints appeal panel. The panel will be independent and impartial. No governor will sit on the panel if they have had a prior involvement in the complaint or in the circumstances surrounding it. The panel will have a cross- section of categories of governors and be sensitive to the issues of race, gender and religious affiliation. If appropriate the panel can be made up of governors from another school. Complaints should not be shared with the whole Governing Body, except in very general terms 

    The panel will convene a meeting to discuss the complaint and all the investigation evidence to make a final decision on how to progress. A clerk will be appointed to take notes of the meeting and records must be kept. A useful checklist for a panel hearing is attached in Appendix F. 

    The Headteacher has a statutory duty for the internal organisation and management of the school, which they must carry out in accordance with any rules, regulations or policies laid down by the Governing Body. Therefore the remit of governors’ consideration of a complaint about a matter of internal organisation and control will be as to whether the Headteacher has followed any relevant school policies; it is not to substitute its own operational judgement for that of the head teacher. 

    The panel can decide:
    To convene a meeting with the complainant. If a meeting is to be convened, the person chairing the meeting either the Chair or Vice-chair (whomever did not deal with the complaint at Stage 2), will write to the complainant to acknowledge the complaint within 10 school days. The letter would also include the date, time and venue of the convened meeting to hear the complaint. 

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