Making a complaint

Please tell us if you have a concern or a complaint

Christ Church school staff and governors aim to work in partnership with parents and carers to answer questions and solve problems. So, if you have a concern or a complaint concerning Christ Church C of E First School please don’t keep it to yourself. Please let us know so that we can put it right.

Christ Church aims to provide many opportunities to keep you informed of and involved in your child’s progress, with regular reports, open days and visits all helping the process. Cooperation between parents, staff and governors leads to a shared sense of purpose and good atmosphere in the school.

Sometimes, however, misunderstandings can arise between parents/carers and school staff. These can often be sorted out by speaking to the right person. Your concern can then be looked into and a response given.

Q1. What should I do first?

First, be clear what you want to talk about.

Remember that although you may want to change a situation, you also want things to end on a positive note with no bad feelings. Because of this, you should try to follow the process and not back yourself, or anyone else, into a corner. Talking with the school can help you to understand how they see the situation and give you the chance to say what it looks like to you.

Although staff can sometimes see parents who just “pop in”, this isn’t generally possible. So, if you have a concern, please make an appointment so that you have enough time to talk things through.

Q2. Whom should I contact?

That depends on the particular situation. Often your child’s class teacher is able to deal with the matter, especially if it concerns class work, homework or lost clothing. For more serious issues you may need to speak with a senior member of staff or the Headteacher. Mutual courtesy is expected and ensures things go smoothly. There should always be discussion in the hope of solving difficulties informally. Most problems are solved in this way.

(a) contact the Headteacher
(b) the actions of the Headteacher ... contact the Chair of Governors via the school
(c) the actions of a governor ... contact the Chair of Governors via the school
(d) the Chair of Governors ... contact the Clerk to Governors via the school
(e) the actions of the Governing Body ... contact the Clerk to Governors via the school.

Q3. What if I am still unhappy?

Ask for an appointment with the Headteacher. It may help to give the school some times when you are free, to help them make a suitable appointment, as both your time and theirs is busy and valuable. Please try to be patient, as every effort will be made to see you as soon as possible.

If your child has special educational needs, you may want to contact Somerset SENDIAS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support) to talk about your concerns (tel: 01823 355578).

Before attending the meeting, it would be useful for you to put your concerns down in writing. Both you and the school can then focus on finding a solution.

We have a simple A4 form that you can obtain from the school office or download from our website. If you wish, you may also bring a friend or family member to the meeting.

Q4. What should I expect to happen as a result of the meeting?

After the meeting, the Headteacher may need to undertake further investigations to inform her/his decision and help achieve resolution. She/he will then write to you outlining the investigation and giving details of any action (if appropriate) to be taken within a mutually agreed timescale.

Q5. What if I feel the Headteacher hasn’t answered my question or investigated my query, or if my complaint is against the head?

You may, if you wish, write to the Chair of Governors asking her/him to hear your complaint.

Q6. What happens if the Chair of Governors does not resolve my complaint?

Write to the Clerk to the Governors after you have received a response from the Chair of Governors, stating that you wish to make a formal complaint. Make it clear what you are complaining about and what you would like the governors to do. You cannot introduce new or different complaints at this stage.

Q7. What will happen next?

A panel of governors, who haven’t been involved with the complaint, will undertake a review.

The Clerk to the Governors will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient date, time and place for you to meet with the panel to explain your concern or complaint.

You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to the meeting if you wish. This could be anyone you think will be able to support you. They will not be invited to take part in any discussions, unless they are speaking instead of you.

You may also wish to bring witnesses to support your complaint.

After the meeting, the panel will then review and/or investigate the Headteacher’s handling of/response to your complaint and decide if it was appropriate and fair. They may wish to meet with any staff or witnesses who can provide information.

They will write to you within an agreed timescale to explain their decision. This decision will be final.

Q8. What do I do if I’m still unhappy?

If you are still unhappy, you may, if you wish, ask the Local Authority (LA) whether your complaint is one that can be investigated by them. To do this you need to write (within 10 school days of receipt of the governors’ panel letter) to:

The Parental Complaints Coordinator
County Hall

The LA’s role is to look at the way a complaint is handled, ie whether the school’s Complaints Procedures were followed correctly. It cannot investigate the original complaint.

If you are still unhappy, you may, if you wish, write to the Secretary of State for Education and ask her/him to consider the issue.

Remember, the whole process exists so that everyone’s views can be heard. The aim is that the complaint should be properly and fairly dealt with.

Communications with school are welcome, and the latter stages of this complaints procedure are rarely used but remain part of the process.

Helpful websites:

Somerset SENDIAS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support)

Advisory Centre for Education

Christ Church Complaints Procedures Policy

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