This guidance is based on the principle that, where at all possible, complaints will be dealt with informally between the school staff and the complainant.
Where this has been tried and been unsuccessful, the more formal procedures will give the complainant a route to ensuring the issue is appropriately considered. Since September 2003, governing bodies of all maintained schools and maintained nursery schools in England have been required, under Section 29 of the Education Act 2002, to have a procedure in place to deal with complaints relating to the school and to any community facilities or services that the school provides. In October 2009, the Human Rights Act came into force, and schools should be mindful to consider Article 6, ‘The Right to a Fair Trial’.
Where concerns are raised the school intends for these to be dealt with:
- Without Prejudice
It is a legal requirement for the complaints procedure to be publicised. It is for the governing body to decide how to fulfill this requirement but details of the complaints procedures could be included in:-
- The school website;
- School prospectus;
- Information given to new parents when their children join the school;
- Information given to children themselves;
- Bulletins or newsletters;
- Documents supplied to community users;
- A specific complaint leaflet which includes a form on which a complaint can be made;
- Posters displayed in public areas of the school;
- The school website.
There are certain complaints that fall outside the remit of the governing body’s complaints procedure. They include:
- Matters which are the responsibility of the local authority;
- Conduct or performance of staff at the school (Staff grievance, capability or disciplinary);
- Content of a statutory statement of special educational needs;
- Pupil admissions;
- Pupil exclusions;
- Where the complaint concerns a third party used by the school;
- The national curriculum and related issues, including religious education and sex education, where this relates to the local authority’s powers or functions;
- Child protection.
- Subject Access Requests or Freedom of Information Requests
All of the above are dealt with under their own specific procedures and the local authority (or Diocese) can provide advice on how to make a complaint regarding any of the above.
The governing body has approved the following procedure which explains what you should do if you have any concerns about the school. All members of staff will be familiar with the procedure and will be able to assist you.