At Polegate School we like to be told how we are doing. We regularly actively seek the views of parents and pupils. We like to celebrate what is going well but also to act quickly to rectify any problems or deal effectively with any concerns.
This complaints procedure is for general complaints. The school must follow other procedures for complaints or appeals about the curriculum, special educational needs provision, exclusions and admissions. Staff disciplinary action, child protection issues or criminal investigation will also need to be handled differently. The school will inform the complainant which is the right process to follow when the
concern is raised.
It is to be expected that parents or others, from time to time, may have legitimate concerns about aspects of the school. Such concerns ought to be handled, if at all possible, without the need for formal procedures. They should be raised with a member of staff, preferably the person who is most closely involved, who should be able to resolve the issue on the spot, including offering an apology if necessary.
It is in everyone’s interest that concerns are resolved at the earliest possible stage. The experience of the first contact between the aggrieved party and the school can be crucial in determining whether the concern will escalate into a complaint. To that end staff will know what to do when they receive a complaint, and which procedure to follow.
The school will respect the views of a complainant who indicates that he/she would have difficulty discussing a complaint with a particular member of staff. In these cases, the complaints co-ordinator can refer the complainant to another staff member. Where the complaint concerns the headteacher, the complaints co-ordinator can refer the complainant to the chair of governors.
Similarly, if the member of staff directly involved feels too compromised to deal with a complaint, the complaints co-ordinator may consider referring the complainant to another staff member. The member of staff may be more senior but does not have to be. The ability to consider the complaint objectively and impartially is crucial.
Where the first approach is made to a governor, the next step would be to refer the complainant to the appropriate member of staff and advise them about the procedure. Governors should not act unilaterally on an individual complaint outside the formal procedure or be involved at the early stages in case they are needed to sit on a panel at a later stage of the procedure.