We have a complaints procedure in place at Westward which is available on request to all parents of pupils and prospective parents. A copy of the policy can be downloaded from the school website.
The procedure applies to the Main School, EYFS and the Westward Out of School Care facilities. It sets out clear timescales for the management of a complaint and allows for complaints to be made and considered initially on an informal basis through the teacher, or via the Home Message Book/Homework Diary, or through the School Office.
Parents and carers should wherever possible seek an early and informal resolution of all concerns. The school will wish to take whatever measures are necessary to sort out any problems effectively before they turn a concern into a complaint; such measures will include some of the following; giving advice or reassurance; explaining the context to an incident or decision; gathering information from other staff or from pupils; finding information from other sources; referring the concern or potential complaint to a senior colleague; reviewing or amending practice; giving feedback to parents; apologising for mistakes or oversights.
A parent or carer with a concern or potential complaint should normally first contact their child’s class teacher, although there may be occasions where the first contact may be with an alternative, normally more senior teacher. Other staff may need to be involved or consulted if this teacher cannot resolve the matter alone.
Class teachers keep a written record of concerns raised with them and the date on which they were received.
Any meetings staff members have with parents are recorded on the meetings resume form and then forwarded to the Headteacher. See Appendix 2.
In the event that a parent or carer (or a pupil using this procedure exceptionally) remains dissatisfied that a satisfactory resolution has not been reached through the school’s response and within a reasonable time (ten school days), then the parent is entitled to proceed with a formal written complaint in accordance with the procedure below.
If the concern or complaint has not been resolved informally the parent or carer should put it in writing, stating that a complaint has been made, addressed to the Headteacher - Mrs Stevenson, who will decide after consideration the appropriate course of action to take. At this point a formal complaint will be registered and acknowledged. See Complaints Form Appendix 3. Where necessary the Headteacher will meet with the parent/carers, within ten days of receiving the complaint, to discuss the matter and if possible reach a resolution at this preliminary stage. Where a complaint is received during a school holiday, it will be deemed to have reached the school on the first full school day following its arrival. It may be necessary to carry out further investigations. The Headteacher will keep written records of all complaints, and of meetings held in relation to them. Once the Headteacher is satisfied that all relevant facts have been established, a response to the parent’s or carer’s complaint will be made and the parent will be informed in writing, within fifteen school days: The nature of the response will depend on the nature of the complaint but it will always give a judgement whether and to what extent, if at all, the complaint is justified, and reasons; the response may include actions which the school intends to take or decisions. A parent or carer who is not satisfied should proceed to the next stage.
If the parents are not satisfied with the response to a written complaint then the proprietor will be informed and further investigations will take place.
A hearing will be carried out before a panel within 28 school days appointed by the proprietor of at least three people who have not been directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint. Where there is a panel hearing of a complaint one person on the panel will be independent of the management and running of the school and the rest of the panel will comprise of senior teachers. A member of office staff unless they are the object of the complaint will be present to act as clerk to the panel. Parents are allowed to attend panel hearings and can be accompanied if they wish.
If possible the panel will resolve the parent’s or carer’s concern without further investigation. Where further investigation is needed, the panel will decide how to carry out the investigation. After due consideration of all relevant facts, the panel will give written findings in response to the complaint: the findings will depend on the nature of the complaint but the panel will always give a judgement whether and to what extent, if at all, the complaint is justified, and the panel’s reasons; the findings may include recommendations or actions which the panel requires the school to take. The findings of the panel will be final.
A record of the panel’s findings and recommendations will be sent by electronic mail or otherwise given in writing to the complainant, proprietor, Headteacher and where relevant the person complained about.
Correspondence, statements and records relating to all complaints are kept confidential except where the Secretary of State or a body conducting an inspection under section 162A of the 2002 Act, as amended, requests due access to them.
All paperwork will be kept in a confidential file in the Headteacher’s office indicating whether the complaint was resolved at the preliminary stage, or whether they proceeded to panel hearing.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
A record of complaints is kept for at least three years for any pupil in the Foundation stage. Parents of pupils in the EYFS may also contact OFSTED (The Office For Standards In Education, Children’s Services and Skills) or ISI (The Independent Schools’ Inspectorate) to make a complaint if they wish.
Ofsted may be contacted by writing or emailing or ringing:
Ofsted Contact Centre: 0300 123 1231
(Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)
Independent Schools Inspectorate may be contacted in writing or emailing or ringing:
Independent Schools Inspectorate
9 – 12 Long Lane
Telephone: 0207 600 0100
- Concerns about a school
- Concerns for the safety or welfare of a child
- Queries relating to safeguarding
Telephone: 0207 600 0100
Appendix 1: Number of complaints registered under the formal procedure during the year 2016 - 2017
Schools are required to publish the number of complaints registered under the formal procedure during the preceding year.
In 2016-2017, no complaints were registered under this procedure.
Last Reviewed: August 2017