Schools Complaints procedure
Review date September 2021
Next Review date: September 2022
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 Tudor Primary 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.
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, about actions taken or a lack of action’.
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. Tudor Primary 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, the senior leadership team will refer you to another staff member. Similarly, if the member of staff directly involved feels unable to deal with a concern, the leadership team 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, Tudor Primary School will attempt to resolve the issue internally, through the stages outlined within this complaints procedure.
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 staff (except the headteacher) should be made in the first instance, to Ms J Kalra (the headteacher) via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
Complaints that involve or are about the headteacher should be addressed to Mr M Sahota (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 D Maloney (the Clerk to the Governing Body) via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
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.
We will consider complaints made outside of term time to have been received on the first school day after the holiday period.
This procedure covers all complaints about any provision of community facilities or services by Tudor Primary School, other than complaints that are dealt with under other statutory procedures, including those listed below.
Who to contact
Concerns about admissions, statutory assessments of Special Educational Needs, or school re-organisation proposals should be raised with Ealing Council Local Authority
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 Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Child protection conferences, MARAC, MAPPA and FGM
Further information about raising concerns about exclusion can be found at: www.gov.uk/school-discipline-exclusions/exclusions.
*complaints about the application of the behaviour policy can be made through the school’s complaints procedure. https://bit.ly/2U3sqgA (School’s Behaviour Policy)
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 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’s internal grievance procedures.
Complaints about staff will be dealt with under the school’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.
Providers should have their own complaints procedure to deal with complaints about service. Please contact them direct.
Please contact the Department for Education at:
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 Tudor Primary 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, Tudor Primary 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:
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 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 10 working school 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:
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 Tudor Primary 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 office.
If the complaint is:
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 3 working 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 10 working 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 10 working 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 Tudor Primary School available, the Clerk will source any additional, independent governors through another local school 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 10 working school days before the meeting, the Clerk will:
Any written material will be circulated to all parties at least 10 working school days before the date of 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:
If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the committee will:
The Chair of the Committee will provide the complainant and Tudor Primary with a full explanation of their decision and the reason(s) for it, in writing, within 10 working 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 Tudor Primary School.
If the complaint is:
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 Tudor Primary will take to resolve the complaint.
The response will also advise the complainant of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissatisfied.
Arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with special educational needs about the support provided by school.
Complaints from members of public under the Fluency Duty (Code of Practice on English language requirements for public sector workers) are covered under this policy. The Code of Practice makes clear that a complaint about an employee's accent, dialect, manner or tone of communication, origin or nationality would not be considered a legitimate complaint under the fluency duty and vexatious, oppressive, threatening or abusive complaints will not be taken forward. Where a complaint has been received under the fluency duty about a member of staff, then the school has a duty of care towards that staff member and should ensure that they are provided with the appropriate support and they should not be subjected to unnecessary fluency testing.
The employee should be notified of the complaint and the action being taken in relation to it. They should be given the opportunity to give their own account of the facts leading to the complaint and they should be kept fully informed at each stage of the complaints process. If a complaint is upheld the school must consider what steps can be taken to meet the fluency duty. This could include specific training, retraining or redeployment.
Tudor is committed to dealing with all complaints fairly and impartially, and to providing a high quality service to those who complain. We will not normally limit the contact complainants have with the school. However, we do not expect our staff to tolerate unacceptable behaviour and will take action to protect staff from that behaviour, including that which is abusive, offensive or threatening.
Tudor defines unreasonable complainants as ‘those who, because of the frequency or nature of their contacts with the school, hinder our consideration of their or other people’s complaints’.
A complaint may be regarded as unreasonable when the person making the complaint: -
A complaint may also be considered unreasonable if the person making the complaint does so either face-to-face, by telephone or in writing or electronically: -
Complainants should limit the numbers of communications with a school while a complaint is being progressed. It is not helpful if repeated correspondence is sent (either by letter, phone, email or text) as it could delay the outcome being reached.
Whenever possible, the headteacher or Chair of Governors will discuss any concerns with the complainant informally before applying an ‘unreasonable’ marking.
If the behaviour continues the headteacher will write to the complainant explaining that their behaviour is unreasonable and asking them to change it. For complainants who excessively contact Tudor causing a significant level of disruption, we may specify methods of communication and limit the number of contacts in a communication plan. This will usually be reviewed after 6 months.
In response to any serious incident of aggression or violence, the concerns and actions taken will be put in writing immediately and the police informed. This may include banning an individual from Tudor.
Barring from the School Premises
Although fulfilling a public function, schools are private places. The public has no automatic right of entry. Schools will therefore act to ensure they remain a safe place for pupils, staff and other members of their community.
If a parent’s behaviour is a cause for concern, a school can ask him/her to leave school premises. In serious cases, the headteacher or the local authority can notify them in writing that their implied licence to be on school premises has been temporarily revoked subject to any representations that the parent may wish to make. Schools should always give the parent the opportunity to formally express their views on the decision to bar in writing.
The decision to bar should then be reviewed, taking into account any representations made by the parent, and either confirmed or lifted. If the decision is confirmed the parent should be notified in writing, explaining how long the bar will be in place.
Anyone wishing to complain about being barred can do so, by letter or email, to the headteacher or Chair of Governors. However, complaints about barring cannot be escalated to the Department for Education. Once the school’s own complaints procedure has been completed, the only remaining avenue of appeal is through the Courts; independent legal advice must therefore be sought.
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 Tudor Primary. They will consider whether Tudor Primary has 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
Please complete and return to Ms Kalra (Headteacher), or the chair of Governor Mr S Sahota (via the school office) who will acknowledge receipt and explain what action will be taken.
Pupil’s name (if relevant):
Your relationship to the pupil (if relevant):
Day time telephone number:
Evening telephone number:
Please give details of your complaint, including whether you have spoken to anybody at the school about it.
What actions do you feel might resolve the problem at this stage?
Are you attaching any paperwork? If so, please give details.
Date acknowledgement sent:
Complaint referred to:
The complainant will receive a more effective response to the complaint if they:
The investigator’s role is to establish the facts relevant to the complaint by:
The investigator should:
The complaints co-ordinator should:
The Clerk is the contact point for the complainant and the committee and should:
The committee’s chair, who is nominated in advance of the complaint meeting, should ensure that:
If a new issue arises it would be useful to give everyone the opportunity to consider and comment upon it; this may require a short adjournment of the meeting
Committee members should be aware that:
No governor may sit on the committee if they have had a prior involvement in the complaint or in the circumstances surrounding it.
We recognise that the complainant might not be satisfied with the outcome if the meeting does not find in their favour. It may only be possible to establish the facts and make recommendations.
Parents/carers often feel emotional when discussing an issue that affects their child.
Careful consideration of the atmosphere and proceedings should ensure that the child/young person does not feel intimidated.
The committee should respect the views of the child/young person and give them equal consideration to those of adults.
If the child/young person is the complainant, the committee should ask in advance if any support is needed to help them present their complaint. Where the child/young person’s parent is the complainant, the committee should give the parent the opportunity to say which parts of the meeting, if any, the child/young person needs to attend.
However, the parent should be advised that agreement might not always be possible if the parent wishes the child/young person to attend a part of the meeting that the committee considers is not in the child/young person’s best interests.
Please give details of your complaint, including whether you have spoken to anybody at the school about it. What actions do you feel might resolve the problem at this stage? Are you attaching any paperwork? If so, please give details.