Comments and complaints
Your school would like to hear from you if you:
- are happy with the education it provides and would like to compliment the staff and its pupils
- have any suggestions about how the school can improve the quality of its provision
- have a concern or complaint. All complaints will be taken seriously and given full and proper consideration.
When things go well, it is very helpful if parents express their approval. Maintenance of high levels of staff commitment, morale and motivation are essential to the provision of the best education for your child. Positive feedback really helps.
To express your approval you can write, telephone, e-mail or speak personally to staff concerned or the headteacher. Your words will be appreciated.
Your child's school is committed to providing a high quality education for your child. Sometimes things may seem to go wrong which may lead you to express concerns.
Stage 1 - the Headteacher
Any concerns should be raised with the member of staff concerned, or the headteacher, in the first instance. If the headteacher considers it appropriate, another member of staff may be asked to respond because they have a particular responsibility or are familiar with the circumstances that have caused you concern. This will generally be sufficient to resolve the matter.
Making a Formal Complaint
Formal procedures may be invoked when attempts by members of staff or the headteacher to resolve the issues are unsuccessful and the person raising the concern remains dissatisfied and wishes to take the matter further. Every school is required by law to have a complaints policy which should help resolve problems and provide parents and the wider community a means for issues of concern to be raised and subsequently addressed. Ask your school to provide you with a copy of its complaints policy so that you understand the process to be followed. This page sets out the County Council’s recommended procedure, but your child’s school may follow a different process.
Stage 2 - the Headteacher or Chair of Governors
It may be that the headteacher has not been aware of the concern raised prior to this point. At this stage the headteacher will seek to investigate your concerns, as well as attempting to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all concerned. This may involve the headteacher having a discussion/meeting with you.
If your complaint is about the headteacher then it must be referred to the chair of governors who will ensure that it is dealt with in accordance with the school’s agreed policy. The school will advise you of how to contact the chair of governors. It is not a requirement that a formal complaint is made in writing, but the chair of governors will need to be clear what the complaint is about, and may therefore request clarification from you before investigating the complaint. If necessary, the school will provide you with a form that you can choose to fill in for this purpose.
The chair of governors will seek to resolve the matter through discussion with both you and the headteacher. In doing so, if considered appropriate, the chair may wish to meet with you in person.
Stage 3 - the Governing Body
Where concerns cannot be resolved by the headteacher or chair of governors then you can ask that your complaint is referred to the governing body’s complaints committee. The chair of governors will arrange this on your behalf, although the chair of governors or the headteacher will not be members of the complaints committee. The committee will meet to consider the complaint and also give you the opportunity to attend the meeting to make representations in person.
You will receive a written response from the complaints committee.
If you are still dissatisfied.
The role of Staffordshire County Council
We do not have a statutory role to consider school complaints and you do not have a right of appeal to the County Council should you disagree with a decision of the governing body. You may raise the matter with us if you consider the complaint wasn’t investigated properly or fairly but, so long as the governing body followed a proper procedure and considered the complaint in a reasonable manner, then we will simply inform you of that fact. It cannot reverse a decision of the governing body.
If you wish to raise the matter with the County Council then please contact:
The role of the Diocesan Schools Commission (DSC)
(This applies only to catholic schools)
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint after investigation by the governing body’s complaints committee you may request a further investigation by applying to the Director of Schools at the Diocesan Schools Commission. The letter sent to you to notify you of the complaints committee’s decision will include the address to which you should write.
The role of the Secretary of State for Education (the Department for Education)
If you feel that the school has not followed the appropriate procedure, any relevant policies, or has failed to discharge a statutory duty, you may wish to refer your complaint to the Schools Complaints Unit (SCU) within the Department for Education at the address below:
The Schools Complaints Unit
Department for Education
2nd Floor Piccadilly Gate
Please note that the SCU will not re-investigate the substance of a complaint as this remains the responsibility of the governing body but, if legislative or policy breaches are found, SCU will report to the governing body and, if necessary, require it to take remedial action.